PDCA or the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle is a four-step model meant to be constantly repeated with the goal of continuous improvement of processes. Implementing the PDCA cycle helps teams avoid recurring mistakes and achieve better results. In this article, we want to go over the four steps of the PDCA cycle and how it can help you drive continuous improvement while increasing productivity and efficiency.
Step 1: Plan
A proper plan helps you focus on solving the problem and what information you need to address the challenge you are facing. You’ll need to be able to ask questions like what’s the background and current state of this problem, and what you want to achieve as a goal of the project. In addition, a good plan will also analyze what’s really happening, ideally with some data-driven insights.
Step 2: Do
Now that you’ve planned, it’s time to think about what you can do to address the painpoints and gaps you’ve uncovered. Many think of this section as your counter-measures - those efforts that can be taken to turn the measure around. It’s really important at this phase to make sure you connect these solutions back to what’s really causing the problem and focus on quick wins to keep up the momentum. Ensure that everyone knows their tasks and roles in completing the plan and try to apply some standardization to the process to make sure everything runs smoothly.
Step 3: Check
The check phase is where you carefully inspect your plan’s execution and determine if your initial plan actually worked. Checking also involves having your team identify other problematic aspects of the current process and eliminating the possibility of them happening in the future.
Step 4: Act
After developing, applying, and checking your plan, it’s finally time to scale up what worked or consider additional improvements. If your objectives were met with an initial pilot, then you can proceed with deploying all of your key solutions. If you really think you need additional improvements, consider those now and start another PDCA cycle.
PDCA serves as a simple but very effective tool to encourage continuous improvement and facilitate productivity and efficiency. Here at Adonis, we are committed to helping your business learn and grow by implementing PDCA and trying things with a retrospective approach to learn and pivot quickly.