The 5 Ws Method for Gathering Information

The challenging starts of a project

Let's assume you've been assigned to a new project with just some high level ideas about which should be the scope of the project. 

Before starting to prepare the Project Charter, the Project Manager should gather as much information as possible to try to land those high level ideas into a more tangible version. This is done during the project Initiation phase. If you want to have a clear picture about the Project Lifecycle, just check out this post.

During this post I will be sharing with you one method I think is really useful to gather information, not only for project management, but also for any other situation you may require to proceed this way. 

This is called "The 5Ws Method" (plus one extra bonus). 

Important note: The situation I'm describing here it's been recently my case, as I've had to go through this process for gathering information for my new assignment.

The 5 Ws method

This method consists on formulating a list of questions to gather all the required information. You'll have to adapt each one to your project. For this case, let's assume we've been assigned to a new project for deploying a new software tool within our company. 

1. What...?

What is the scope of the project? 

What is the purpose for deploying this software?

2. Who...?

Who is participating in this project? 

Who is the vendor?

Who is the project sponsor? 

3. When...?

By when do we need to deploy the software?

When will we receive all the required HW materials?

4. Where...?

Where will we store all project related documentation?

Where will be deployed this software?

5. Why...?

Why do we need to kickoff this project?

Why are we choosing this vendor? 

6. EXTRA BONUS - How...?

How will we support this new tool?

How are we going to deploy the software?

So, what about you? Are you using this method for gathering information? Would you add any additional question to the list? Please, feel free to share with me your thoughts about this topic by adding a comment to this post.

June 17, 2022


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