6 honest serving men of delivery

6 honest serving men

Rudyard Kipling wrote an often quoted poem called the six honest serving men, which contains the lines:

“I keep six honest serving-men (They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When And How and Where and Who.”

These six topics, which are each questions to be asked, are invaluable ways to view anything you try to deliver. I believe the most critical and under emphasised are the first two, what and why. Its is very easy to jump to when, how and who are going to work on something and miss the entire point of a delivery.

2 thoughts on “6 honest serving men of delivery”

  1. and of the two: what and why: why is the most important! At least, I find we tech /IT guys jump straight to the ‘what do you need’ whereas asking ‘why do you need it’ often uncovers true reasons, that indicate possible better solutions.

    Eg: “I want this data each week; CSV please or XLS”
    Why do you need it?
    “so I can import into Excel and make a graph for a report”
    Ah, so maybe if we delivered the graph each week: that woudl save you time?”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *