During the month of August – while many are taking time off to enjoy summer – we will be offering a resource page on a particular topic. The resource page features an overview of the week’s topic and links to the best related content across iSixSigma (articles, blogs, discussions, Marketplace products and dictionary entries). This week’s topic is the Plan, Do, Check, Act (PDCA) cycle.

The PDCA cycle is a four-step management model for continuous improvement and learning: plan, do, check and act. Its origin can be traced to the 1920s and the father of statistical process control, Walter A. Shewhart. He introduced the concept of plan, do and see. Total quality management (TQM) guru and renowned statistician W. Edwards Deming modified the Shewhart cycle as: plan, do, study (or check) and act. The PDCA cycle is also known as the Deming cycle.

Follow the four steps iteratively for problem-solving and continuous process improvement:

  • Plan: Plan ahead for change. Analyze and predict the results.
  • Do: Execute the plan, taking small steps in controlled circumstances.
  • Check: Check or study the results.
  • Act: Take action to standardize or improve the process.

To learn more about PDCA and related topics, and to see examples of the methodology in use, refer to the following articles and discussions:

About the Author