(For those who really don’t know, and for those who really think they know.)

By Dr. Gerald Mulenburg, PMP:

We are pleased to welcome a new contributing author, Dr. Gerald Mulenburg. We are sure you will find his articles helpful.

Project management first and foremost is about creating change. If there is no change that needs to occur, there is no need for a project. For any project creating change, multiple items need to be considered, including the amount of change involved, the factors affecting the change, and a number of other things. If the change can be clearly identified, or has been done before and the method for accomplishing it clear, the project is considered “simple.” At the other end of the spectrum, where not only what is to be done is unclear but how to do it is not yet known, a project is considered “complex.” (More on complex projects at another time.) For the project manager to manage a project well, it requires not only an intellectual understanding of the task to be accomplished but also guiding (some may say leading) the project team members to accomplish their tasks in a way that helps integrate the completed work at the right time into the desired result.

So how do we create change through a project? Answering the WWWWWH questions is a good way to start. What is needed? Why is it needed? When is it needed? Who is involved in doing it? Where does it need to be done? and, How is it to be done? Although this may sound simplistic, it is often not simple. Many people working on a project find it difficult to answer all of these questions, and some may not be able to answer any. So what?

Only if everyone working on a project understands both these questions and the answers to them can they make the smart decisions necessary to achieve the project’s objectives by being both effective and efficient. Effectiveness is of course doing the right things, and efficiency is doing those things right. The WWWWWH method provides those doing the work with a means to accomplish that work with all of its necessary features and functions, ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­within the cost constraints, and on schedule. In reviewing team member’s comments for many successful projects, they frequently identify having a clear understanding of the WWWWWH factors for their projects as reasons for their project success.

Try it, you might like it!