Continual Improvement Through The PDCA Cycle


No matter the industry, there’s a specific project management tool designed to guide team members along the improvement process: the Plan Do Check Act Cycle. Here’s what you need to know about the cycle’s phases and its potential for implementation in your organization.

What is the Plan Do Check Act Cycle?
The Plan Do Check Act Cycle, or PDCA cycle, is a technique designed to facilitate continuous improvement in the workplace. It is also referred to as the Deming Cycle, as it was popularised under the instruction of Dr. W. Edwards Deming. Deming, a statistician and quality revolutionary, was introduced to the concept by Walter Shewart, a statistical quality control expert. The tool serves as a practical means of assessing and identifying opportunities for improvement. It is set up as follows:

Plan. The opportunity for improvement is identified. Plans are made by determining which changes will bring about improvements. In this step, it is important to determine your goal, measurements of success, and methods of implementing the change.

Do. Now it’s time to implement those changes. In this phase, you are testing the change on a small-scale.

Check. This step is sometimes referred to as the study phase. Here you’re reviewing and analyzing the results of the test.

Act. What takes place at this phase depends greatly on the results analyzed in the third step. You may need to alter your methods of implementation, develop a new plan, or test your theory on a larger scale. If you achieved optimal results, it’s time to standardise your process.
As this is a cycle, the process never truly ends. Instead, it repeats itself, providing the framework to continual improvement.

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