What So What Now What

What? So What? Now What? Template

Use our What So What So Now Template to engage in critical reflection about an experience and discover gaps in your understanding and learn from others’ perspectives.

About the What? So What? Now What? Template

A reflective model, What? So What? Now What? is a way for teams to improve upon previous experiences with tasks and projects. Not unlike the 5 whys problem-solving framework, this model is designed to help you go deeper and uncover what exactly is going wrong with your existing efforts so you can refine your approach going forward.

The basic three-step framework of the model is as follows:

  1. Identify and understand the event in question

  2. Extract all relevant information about what went wrong and what went right

  3. Draw up a series of actions you could take to come up with better solutions

At each stage of the reflective model, you and your team are forced to confront the realities of the event, how it transpired, and what the consequences were, for better or worse. This can lead to a deep analysis of what you can do in the future to prevent a similar outcome.

Benefits of using the What? So What? Now What? Template

When you engage in the What? So What? Now What? framework with others, you can discover gaps in your understanding and learn from others’ perspectives. 

It isn’t easy to sit down and consider the way you acted in the past with complete objectivity. Subjective bias has a tendency to creep in when issues involving the ego and one’s sense of professional self-worth are involved. An exercise like this can effectively break down everyone’s barriers and encourage a productive open discussion.

Some teams following Scrum workflows find it especially beneficial during sprint reviews and retrospectives. Still, this approach is simple enough to apply to nearly any situation when you want to encourage deep reflection.

Create your own What? So What? Now What? Template

Miro’s What? So What? Now What? Template is ideal for easy sharing and collaborating with coworkers, so you can reflect on past failures and successes as a team. Here’s how to make the template your own:

Step 1: First things first, select the template from our Template Library and open it on a new board.

Step 2: Next, fill out the three categories in the template. To fill out the first, ‘what?’, think of a recent problem you encountered, for example a low customer conversion rate, and add it as a sticky note.

Step 3: Then, tease out what exactly that means for your company and lean on your team for input as to the impact of the problem you defined.

Step 4: To finish things up, collaborate with your team to brainstorm what you can do to boost your conversion rate in this case.

Step 5: After you’ve filled out the template, you can use it as a digital reference sheet to guide your strategic direction moving forward as a team.

How do you use the What? So What? Now What? Template?

You can use the What? So What? Now What? Template to guide yourself or a group through a reflection exercise. Begin by thinking of a specific event or situation. Then, navigate through each phase of the model, asking guiding questions to help participants reflect on their thoughts and experiences. 

When performing this exercise with a group, you can assign different colored sticky notes to each participant, so it’s easy to keep track of different people’s responses. If you’re not all in the same location, you can use video chat to check-in at the end of each phase.

You can develop questions for each phase, like those outlined below, in order to steer the discussion in the right direction and end the session with a strong idea of how you can avert poor outcomes and disasters in the future.

What are some examples of What? So What? Now What? Questions?

To answer “What?” you can ask the following questions, which detail the experience.

  • What happened?

  • What did you observe?

  • What role did you play?

  • What were your expectations?

  • What part of the experience did you find challenging?

  • What part of the experience did you find exciting?

  • What did you find surprising?

  • What did you learn?

To answer “So What?” you can ask the following questions, which detail why the experience was important.

  • What questions are you asking now that you’ve had this experience?

  • How did this event make an impact on you?

  • What did this experience make you feel?

  • What conclusions can you draw from this experience?

  • What did you learn about yourself?

  • What did you learn about others?

To answer “Now What?” you can ask any of the following questions, which describe what you will do now that the experience is over.

  • How will you apply what you have learned from this experience?

  • What would you like to learn about this experience?

  • What do you need to do to address any challenges that arose during this experience?

  • How will this experience contribute to your career?

  • How will this experience change your community going forward?

  • How can you continue to get involved in this sort of experience?

Using a template to structure your reflective process

Going into any reflective practice, you want to structure your thoughts and discussions so as to get the most out of every session. If you don’t use a template or framework to direct and guide your conversations, there’s a strong chance you’ll get sidetracked, or your meetings will run long as you won’t have defined parameters and session length.

The Miro What? So What? Now What? Template is a straightforward structure you can use to gather your questions for each stage, present them to your team virtually, and gather thoughts and ideas in one place.

What? So What? Now What? Template

Get started with this template right now.

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