The Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle is a change management methodology. It’s an important part of the lean manufacturing philosophy and a requirement for continuous process and people improvement.
This cycle, first proposed by Walter Shewhart and later developed by William Deming, is a widely used paradigm for continuous improvement in manufacturing, management, and other fields. First of all, let’s have a look at what is PDCA?
PDCA stands for:
It’s a simple strategy with four stages for teams to avoid repeating mistakes and improve procedures.
Walter Shewhart, an American statistician, and physicist is a Plan Do Check Act process founder. He was enthusiastic about statistical analysis and quality improvement. And he laid the groundwork for the PDCA method, which has been documented in multiple publications.
Years later, William Deming, inspired by Shewhart’s ideas, extended the concept into a learning and improvement cycle known as the PDCA model.
Stages Of PDCA Process
The cycle is an iterative process. Also, it’s perfect to improve products, people, and services over time. It eventually evolved into what is currently known as Lean management. Testing solutions, assessing findings, and improving the process are part of the Plan-Do-Check-Act methodology.
For example, you’ve received numerous customer complaints about your support team’s sluggish response time. Then, to keep customers pleased, you’ll most likely need to boost your team’s performance. This principle comes into play at this point.
Let’s look at the four stages of the PDCA strategy in more detail.
You will plan what needs to be done at this point. Depending on the project’s scope, planning may consume a significant portion of your team’s time. It will typically be broken down into smaller sections so that you may construct a proper plan with fewer chances of failure.
Before moving on to the next level, make sure you’ve addressed the following concerns:
- What is the key issue that we must address?
- What are the resources we’ll require?
- Given the available resources, what is the most cost-effective way to solve the problem?
- What are the objectives?
Depending on the scope of the problem, this stage could be simple and quick, or it could take weeks or even months of deliberation to reach a decision. Theoretically, the longer you spend here, the simpler the remaining phases will be.
Keep in mind that you and your team may need to go over the strategy a few times before moving forward.
Now that you’ve settled on a strategy, it’s time to put it into action. You’ll put everything you’ve learned in the previous phases into practice at this time.
Be aware that unexpected issues may arise during this stage. As a result, in an ideal situation, you should initially try to implement your plan on a modest scale and in a controlled environment.
Standardization will undoubtedly aid your team’s implementation of the plan. Ascertain that everyone understands their obligations and roles.
This is, without a doubt, the most crucial stage in the planning cycle. You must pay close attention to the check phase to explain your plan, avoid repeating mistakes, and successfully implement continuous improvement.
Here, you must examine the execution of your plan to determine whether or not your original idea was successful. Furthermore, your team will identify and eliminate problematic aspects of the present procedure in the future. If something goes wrong during the process, you must look into it and figure out what’s causing the problems.
Finally, the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle reaches its conclusion. You planned, implemented, and double-checked your plan previously. It would be best if you now took action.
If everything appears in order and your squad has met its initial objectives, you can move forward with your original strategy.
If the objectives are satisfied, it may be suitable to adopt the entire plan. Your model, on the other hand, will become the new standard baseline. However, when you repeat a standardized plan. Tell your team to go over all of the phases again and aim to improve as much as possible.
The PDCA cycle is a basic yet effective structure for resolving problems at any level of your company. The systematic approach aids your team in identifying and testing ideas, as well as improving them in a waste-reduction cycle.
The process requires a commitment to continual development and has boosted production and efficiency.
Finally, remember that the PDCA technique takes time and may not be ideal for tackling urgent difficulties.
Plan Do Check Act Template
Now that you know how the PDCA method might assist you in implementing change in your company, you’re probably wondering where to begin.
It’s helpful to have a real document to work in to combine all of your information, discuss it with team members, and make modifications as time goes on, just like with any new software, method, or tool.
You can make your own in Excel or your project management software, or you can use one of the ready-made templates. Clarity is the key to a good PDCA template. Every step should be written out in detail and who is accountable for completing it, and by when. Your execution will be better if your plan is more thorough.
PDCA Best Practices
Aside from using a traditional template, a few more strategies will help you successfully make improvements.
- Ascertain if higher management is supportive of the adjustments. You won’t be able to enforce your new policy or process unless they approve it.
- Never stop learning and improving. Keep in mind that it isn’t a one-and-done treatment. Continue this cycle indefinitely, improving with each revolution and looking for the next opportunity to make a positive difference.
- Once you’ve made a policy change, roll it out to the rest of your company. This should be adopted as a new method for every department that works with whatever transition you’re bringing about.
Advantages And Disadvantages Of PDCA
The Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle is a fantastic method for implementing changes sustainably and conscientiously. Rather than altering routine procedures with a spontaneous hair-jerk technique, one should take incremental steps and always watch the situation. However, this is also one of the major drawbacks of the Deming cycle. Your planning regarding this project must be ahead of time. Rapid issue solving is not possible using PDCA.
The first benefit of PDCA is that it is flexible. Users can use it in a variety of industries and applications. Also, use it in various settings, including project management, change management, product development, and resource development. Not only that, but the PDCA paradigm is basic and straightforward for anyone who wants to follow it. Although the results are basic, they are quite effective in bringing about change, fixing difficulties, and enhancing job efficiency. As a result, it is very popular.
Even though PDCA is straightforward, it isn’t easy to practice. The Plan Do Check Act is a model that breaks down a process into little phases, slowing it down. When confronted with pressing issues, this sluggish procedure becomes less acceptable. Not only that, but PDCA is a continuous process that requires complete dedication to complete. PDCA will not be effective in the long run if you do not commit.
It can be deduced that the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle is a framework or management method in which a Plan, Do, Check, and Act cycle is followed. In general, this structure has its own set of benefits and drawbacks. However, you should be aware of this, particularly if you hold a senior position in the organization. This might assist your firm in better utilizing the management process. When a company can maintain quality and understands management, it may expand and add new locations.