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The 5 W’s to Run a Successful Project

Successful Project

This post is also available in: Singapore

Let’s go back to basics! In this article, we explore the 5 W’s, namely WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, and WHY in project planning and management, and how they can help you run a successful project.

What makes a successful project?

Running a successful project requires a lot of planning. Many times, in the midst of the project, things start to complicate. When this happens,  it’s time to go back to the basics.

There are many methods, practices, principles, tools and techniques out there at the disposal of a project manager. However, it is easy to forget the fundamental principles of project management, which are the 5 W’s. The answer to these questions are basic in information gathering, it is not just for project management, but can also be applied in any decision making.

Think about answering these 5 W’s before you start any project.

5 W's to run a successful project


Who are your stakeholders, who are the team, who is the customer that you are working with, who is the sponsor and who ultimately benefits when the project is completed? Always remember who makes the decisions.


This is ultimately the most important question to ask when you’re trying to gather requirements for your project to define the scope. It gets no simpler than What do you do? or What do you need?

The more information documented and gathered at this point, the more successful the project will be, enabling you to be a better business, to do better business and to grow your business.


This used to be a very straightforward question. But with today’s global and dispersed environments, this question is not as simple as it may seem! But after all is said and done, where will your project be done? Where will it be delivered?


Sometimes this question gets asked before all the questions we discussed above get answered. Customers are excited to get the project underway. While it may be easy to suggest next month or next quarter, this question cannot be answered until we know the answers to Who, What and Where. It is only then that we can answer the When.


Though it seems so obvious, there are a lot of times when the Why question is never asked! The simple question, why are we doing this project? Really delving into this question will allow you to get at the project objectives and deliverables which ultimately results in a successful project. It is important to reference the objectives of the project weekly, as these have to be kept to the forefront so that a project will not start rambling off in another direction. It is important to keep that in mind – a clear start and end date. We always keep to the project objectives for phase 1 and as we move along towards later phases, we will always work with your business enabling growth, expertise and expansion.

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