Six Serving (Wo)Men Technique – “what” they are and “how” to use them


Six Serving (Wo)Men Technique - how, why, what, where, who and when

The Six Serving (Wo)Men Technique, inspired by Rudyard Kipling’s famous poem, is a powerful method for exploring and analyzing problems or ideas in a comprehensive manner. It employs six fundamental questions – What, Why, When, How, Where, and Who – to delve deep into the subject matter, ensuring a thorough understanding and uncovering of various aspects and perspectives.

Steps of the Six Serving (Wo)Men Technique

  1. Define the Problem or Idea: Clearly articulate the issue or concept that needs exploration or resolution.
  2. Apply the Six Questions:
  • What: Identify what the problem or idea is about. What are its characteristics and elements?
  • Why: Explore the reasons behind the problem or the need for the idea. Why does it exist or why is it important?
  • When: Determine the timing involved. When does the problem occur or when will the idea be most relevant?
  • How: Investigate how the problem arises or how the idea can be implemented. What are the processes or methods involved?
  • Where: Specify where the problem is occurring or where the idea would be applicable.
  • Who: Identify who is affected by the problem or who will be involved with the idea. Who are the stakeholders?
  1. Document Responses: Record the answers to each of these questions, ensuring thorough coverage of every aspect.
  2. Analyze and Synthesize Information: Review the collected information to identify patterns, insights, and potential solutions.
  3. Develop Actionable Steps: Based on the analysis, create a plan of action or a set of solutions to address the problem or implement the idea.


  • Example 1: Business Strategy Development
  • Application: A company uses the Six Serving (Wo)Men Technique to comprehensively analyze a new market entry strategy, addressing all aspects from customer demographics (Who) to the timing of the launch (When).
  • Example 2: Event Planning
  • Application: An event planner employs this technique to meticulously plan an international conference, covering everything from the logistics (How, Where) to the purpose and objectives of the event (Why).
  • Example 3: Product Improvement
  • Application: A product development team uses the technique to understand customer dissatisfaction with a product, exploring aspects like usage scenarios (When, Where) and user demographics (Who).


The Six Serving (Wo)Men Technique is adaptable and can be used in various contexts, from business and education to personal decision-making. By systematically addressing these six key questions, it ensures a holistic view of the subject, leading to more informed decisions and innovative solutions.

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