In-Depth Definition of the PDCA Cycle
The PDCA cycle, also known as the Deming cycle, was brought into the spotlight by Dr. Edwards Deming. This is a continuous improvement tool for processes. At its best, it is an effective technique for solving problems or issues as well as managing change. It is a great way to keep you on point.
Plan: Here you want to identify what the problem/issue is, then perform an analysis of this problem so you can test it and how it is affecting your bottom line. So if you do the preceding, you would identify the problem and understand the root cause of the problem, using data collected to decide which of the possible causes is the true root cause.
Do: This is where you will test or experiment with possible solutions and figure out which one is the best possible solution. Do small experiments to figure out quickly what changes are needed, then you can always go back on a bigger scale after you’ve gauged the improvements results on the smaller scale. Then you can measure the solution you have chosen to its full potential, and of course measure the resolved results.
Check: Here you are going to compare the results using before and after data that you have collected. Analyze the results and measure how effective the improvements were, and then make the supported hypothesis of whether or not the solutions used reached the desired objectives.
Act: Here you document the data from the results you obtained. Inform your team about the process changes, show the data if need be. Make suggestions if other process changes are needed.