Problem Definition (5W-2H / 5W-1H Method)

Todays topic is 5W-2H / 5W-1H method of problem definition. As we all work in the corporate culture where problem solving is the key area to fight with.

Also there is a must requirement of Engineer/ Executive / Managers which is good and proficient in problem solving techniques.

We are using the tools to solve the problem 8D analysis, to prevent the problems Failure Mode Effect Analysis and many more.

Before that the first step to solve the problem is to define the problem. Therefore the systematic problem definition plays very important roles in problem solving.

In every customer complaint or in internal failure include the high risk of rejection and cost. And we always looking to fight on these problems, in this scenario if we are not identify the correct problem then our strategy or study to eliminate those problems goes wrong. Then at the end, we spend lot of time and cost to eliminate problem is not effective and not get you the desire results.

Results are what matters!

To achieve the results effectively, we need to follow the correct process step-by-step…

Now the first step in problem solving is Systematic Problem Definition. The method to define the problem is 5W-2H Questioning method.

The 5W-2H / 5W-1H Questions method

  • What?
  • Where?
  • When?
  • Who?
  • Why?
  • How?
  • How big?


We need to write the answer for what happened?


In this question the answer for When did it happen?. It means the time when the problem observed or occurred.


The exact question for “Where” is Where did it happen?. It means the location the area of problem occurrence.


In this question we need to write the reply for “Who is complaining?” or “Who is affected?”.


Similarly the question is for, Why who is complaining?. We can write the specification or requirement for that problem were occur.


How it was discover?, or How it was observe?. For this answer we need to add how the problem got observed.

How big?

How big the problem is? it means how much quantity being affect?.

Refer the below template for your reference and easy understanding.

Recommended approach for effective Problem Definition using 5W-2H

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