Plan, Do, Check and Act

PDCA – Do you know what that means?

I attended a staff meeting in Shipshewana last week. They reviewed a lecture on PDCA.

Here’s what it means: Plan, Do, Check, and Act.

Planning starts with making a clear statement of a problem to be solved. The “P” could have stood for “Problem” but I like that planning is associated with this stage. Planning means that the team is on a conscious search for problems to be identified and solved with an aim toward becoming leaner.

Do – Test it by doing. In PDCA, there is a bias for action. On the video, it was referred to as “try storming.” In PDCA, you begin to get after a problem by trying small experiments. Some problems don’t get solved because we are trying for a grand, refined solution. Thus, we get stuck in a waiting mode. PDCA says once you have determined the problem to solve, get started on a fix.

Check is the next phase. After every experiment, we know more. During the check phase, we study data, reflect on it.

Act is the final stage. After a number of modifications, we should have solutions that have eliminated or modified the problem. We act to make sure everyone is together. We move ahead.

Then it all starts over again. A new, compelling problem to solve and a process to attack it.

Do this until your problems disappear. I’m thinking that’s a long way off. That’s why it’s called continual improvement.