The continuous cycle of Plan, Do, Check, Act (PDCA) is a mantra often repeated here at the Office of Continuous Improvement. It can be thought of as the origin of all the other tools and ideas that we use for improvement. As our Director of Continuous Improvement, Ruth Archer likes to point: if tomorrow we forgot all the tools and process aside from PDCA we would eventually create each one over again. PDCA is a cycle because once the planning and the doing have been done, one checks the process, and then acts on their observations, with the goal of reaching the target state.

Part of the process of PDCA is recognizing that one cannot get from step 1 to step 100 instantaneously, but rather through taking several small steps. This allows one to check each part of the process individually, as each step can be thought of as an experiment. As an experiment, a positive result is not guaranteed. Thus, by checking each step one can find errors in the process one by one, rather than as a whole. After each cycle, a standard is set in place to prevent the quality of the process from slipping.

Overall, PCDA is an effective customizable tool that can be used for any process, whether it be in the workplace or home life.

One Comment on "One"

  • Theresa A. Coleman-Kaiser
    August 6, 2019 at 6:32 AM

    I like that PDCA is essentially the scientific method in which we plan and make a hypothesis. After doing what is planned we learn from the results and check it against the hypothesis. Then we adjust the experiment and run another cycle. Too often we are conditioned to think we can hit a home run and get from 1 to 100 in one PDCA cycle….wrong! Rapid experiment cycles iterating forward is what’s needed. Great post. Yes, PDCA is the thinking and the tool that everyone needs to understand in Lean and continuous improvement.