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PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act)

The PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) cycle, also known as the Deming Cycle or Shewhart Cycle, is a systematic process used for achieving continuous improvement in business and manufacturing practices. It provides a framework for problem-solving, process optimisation, and quality management. The cycle consists of four iterative steps:

  1. Plan: Identify the problem or the process that needs improvement. Develop hypotheses about what changes might improve it, and then plan the changes to implement.
  2. Do: Execute the plan on a small scale, if possible, to test the changes.
  3. Check: Evaluate the results of the test, measuring how effective the changes have been in solving the problem or making improvements.
  4. Act: If the changes were successful, implement them on a broader scale. If they weren't, use the information gathered to return to the "Plan" stage for further refinement.
The PDCA cycle is designed to be a continuous loop, thereby fostering a culture of perpetual learning and improvement.

Origin of the PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act)

The PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) cycle is often attributed to W. Edwards Deming, an American statistician, professor, author, lecturer, and consultant. However, it's worth noting that Deming himself credited Walter A. Shewhart, another American statistician and engineer, with developing the foundational concepts that led to PDCA. Shewhart initially developed a concept known as the "Shewhart Cycle," which was similar but had three stages: Specification, Production, and Inspection.

Deming further developed and popularised the concept, particularly in the context of quality control and management. As a result, the PDCA cycle is sometimes called the "Deming Cycle" or the "Deming Wheel," although Deming himself preferred to call it the "Shewhart Cycle" in deference to his mentor.

The PDCA cycle has been widely adopted across various industries for quality improvement, problem-solving, and as a foundation for various process improvement methodologies.
Trevor O'Sullivan

Trevor O'Sullivan

General Manager. Since the early 2000s, Trevor has worked with thousands of Talent Management professionals to develop and apply assessment-based talent management solutions for selecting, developing and managing people. Trevor is an active member of the TTI Success Insights (TTISI) Global Advisory Council, contributes to TTISI product development and is a regular presenter at TTISI-R3. He is honoured to have received multiple Blue Diamond Awards and, more recently, the Bill Brooks Impact Award recognising his contributions to the TTISI global network.

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