Five W Questions For Information Gathering — Tentamen Software Testing Blog

Karlo Smid
2 min readJan 29, 2021
Image by Markus Winkler from Pixabay


In the last post, we presented a CIA thinking tool called The Phoenix Checklist. We used it to create a plan for the real problem with the Google Page Rank feature. Today we talk about the five W questions that we use for information gathering. Many thanks to Marcel, who sublimed this great resource on his blog, That’s the buffet table.

Information Gathering

We use five W questions to help us in information gathering. As software testers, we gather information about the product. Using that information, we create a testing strategy and mission. The better information we have, the better strategy and missions could be created.

Five Or Six

It all started with five W questions:

  1. Who is it about?
  2. What happened?
  3. When did it take place?
  4. Where did it take place?
  5. Why did it happen?

There is one more important question to be added:

  • How did it happen?

And we have Six Ws.

Other Contexts

Six Ws are also beneficial in other domains like a police investigation, journalism, and research, where information gathering is also of high importance.

What Is a Satisfactory Answer

Answers yes or no are not satisfactory answers on 6Ws questions because those do not contain any facts. Facts are “meat” for our reports.

Software Testing Strategy Example

Here are 6Ws questions that could help you with your testing strategy draft:

  1. Who are the interested parties for this product? Start asking for project team member’s roles.
  2. What is this product all about? You should be able to put in your report one paragraph of airplane view for this project.
  3. When is the deadline?
  4. Where should we test? On your laptop, production, or dedicated test environment.
  5. Why is this product important for our company?
  6. How are we going to create this product? The programming language, architecture, frameworks, databases.


Having fact answers to all 6Ws questions means that you can start creating a test strategy and mission. But if some answers are missing, that means you revealed project risks that should be taken care of.

Originally published at on January 29, 2021.