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The PDCA Cycle – A Framework for Quality Improvement

 

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Definition
The Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle (also known as the Deming cycle or the Shewhart cycle) is a model of implementing change to a process in order reach continuous improvement. Just like any other cycle, the PDCA cycle is carried out on a repeating basis to ensure realization of the best possible improvement opportunities.

The PDCA cycle is a methodology that provides a framework for continuous quality improvement of process environments. It basically starts with a plan and ends with an action that is optimized because the plan is developed in accordance with the information learned during the Do-Check process. The methodology allows generating a hypothesis to be confirmed (or negated) and then executing the cycle again and again to extend the knowledge about the hypothesis and possible solutions.

Idea
The key idea behind the PDCA cycle is that we learn by doing. It means that iteration is the key to success. When we work on building a solution to a problem, we must repeat the building process until the best solution is found. Iteration provides continuous improvement allowing us to get a better understanding of the problem and thereby to develop the best possible solution. Ideally, the more attempts to resolve our problem we make, the more advanced solution we generate.

Steps
The four steps of the PDCA cycle are briefly described below:

  • Plan. The Plan step is intended to state a problem, define customer objectives, and determine conditions and methods required for addressing the problem and achieving the objectives. A well-developed plan takes up 50% of success.
  • Do. The Do step is to create the necessary conditions and provide training or additional support to personnel in order to ensure that the plan can be implemented as desired. Teams should completely understand the problem and objectives and carry out procedures required for plan fulfillment.
  • Check. The Check step is intended to determine whether work is in progress as planned and whether the expected outcome is produced. Implementation procedures should be checked against changes in the conditions to identify if there are any deviations.
  • Act. The Act step determines real success of the project. It aims to examine causes of failure and decide whether to continue the project and repeat the whole cycle. The cycle repeats until the Act step determines no failure. Then the best possible solution is found and the improvement process can be discontinued.

Using Tasks
If you decide to use the PDCA cycle to make change to a process and increase process quality, then you must regard the four steps of the cycle as a series of interrelated tasks. The idea behind our suggestion is that tasks are easy to plan and manage and thereby your project based on the PDCA cycle becomes easier to implement.

You can use VIP Task Manager to manage your project and tasks. This software features task management functionality that lets create to-do lists, track tasks, build collaboration between teams, track work progress, and do other things that simplify implementation of the PDCA cycle.

Below we give the Table of Contents that includes articles describing the four steps and explaining what tasks you can create to carry out your improvement project with help of VIP Task Manager.

Table of Contents

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