PDCA Cycle: Plan-Do-Check-Act,
PDCA is an four-step management method used in business for the control and continuous improvement of processes and products. ISO 9001:2008 International Standard promotes the adoption of a process approach and PDCA cycle when developing, implementing and improving the effectiveness of a quality management system, to enhance customer satisfaction by meeting customer requirements.
PDCA can be briefly described as follows.
- Plan: establish the objectives and processes necessary to deliver results in accordance with customer requirements and the organization’s policies.
- Do: implement the processes.
- Check: monitor and measure processes and product against policies, objectives and requirements for the product and report the results.
- Act: take actions to continually improve process performance.
P is for Plan
In any project, you will first need a detailed plan. Make sure to identify your goals, delegate work properly and set a clear action plan with key milestones.
Don’t forget to document your plans in order to help you analyze its effectiveness later.
D is for Do
Once you have your plan, do it! As no plan is ever completely perfect, make sure you make a list of problems as you encounter them, and how you responded to them.
C is for Check
Once you’ve finished the project, immediately call the team to compile the list of problems and solutions they’ve encountered. Share the information with the team so that everyone knows and understands how to avoid these problems, or to fix them if they happen to reappear again later.
A is for Act
You now know the root causes of the problems, now fix them. Your job here is to ensure these problems don’t rear their ugly heads again the next time you carry out this project. Solving an issue by fixing the root cause is like uprooting weeds, as they won’t grow back again. If you solve a problem as they come along, then all you’re doing is cutting weeds. With a bit of time, they’ll just grow back and come back to haunt you.
Once the root causes are eliminated, it is important to standardize these techniques in order to ensure that everyone knows about it, and that they don’t happen again. That can be achieved through documentation and sharing this knowledge through PDCA meetings with your team.