PDCA Cycle  Plan Do Check Act  Implementation  Example

What is the PDCA cycle in TQM?

→ The full name is the Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle and it is one of the popular Problem-Solving Methods and Continuous Improvement Methodology.
→ It is often referred to as the Deming wheel or Deming cycle.
→ Shewhart and Deming are recognized as pioneers in the Quality Management movement. Shewhart introduced the PDSA cycle, (Plan-Do-Study-Act).
→ He believed that data analysis is an essential part of any improvement effort and checking does not necessarily imply an in-depth study.
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What is the PDCA model of continuous improvement?

→ PDCA is widely recognized as the basis of continually improving the Quality of Products, processes, and services and also it is a simple structured approach for solving quality-related problems. It may be necessary to solve the problem permanently and reach the ultimate goal state.
→ Used to verify the feasibility of a proposed idea whether it is an incremental or a breakthrough improvement.
➝ Plan-Do-Check-Act approach is the base for TQM, ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management System Standard, A3 thinking methodology, and IATF 16949:2016 Automotive QMS Standard.
→ This methodology relies on trial and error, however, it keeps on improving until it achieves excellence.
→ It is one of the most popular Lean Manufacturing Tools across the manufacturing industries.
👉 Read this article for (1) What is the problem? (2) What is problem-solving? (3) Various Problem-Solving Methods (4) Types of Solutions.

Continuous Improvement Cycle Plan Do Check Act

What are the four steps in the PDCA cycle?

  1. Plan – A change aimed at improvement
  2. Do – Carry out the change
  3. Check – Study the results
  4. Act – Adopt, Adapt, or Abandon
Four Phases of PDCA Cycle

How to Implement the PDCA Cycle? Example:

Implementation of Plan Phase:

➝ There are four sub-phases available in the planning phase which are explained below in sequence.
01. Select Improvement Opportunity
02. Analyze the Current Situation
03. Identify Root Causes
04. Generate and Choose_Solution

PDCA Cycle Training Presentation

[1] Select Improvement Opportunity:

➝ Generate a list and select
➝ Redefine team
➝ Write problem / opportunity / aim statement
➝ Describe the problem
➝ Management review
➝ The team selects the problem to be solved (to be improved)
➝ The problem and objectives are clearly identified.
➝ The current situation is analyzed.
➝ Solution alternatives are identified, selected, and scheduled

[2] Analyze the Current Situation:

➝ Define the process/problem to be solved
➝ Identify the customer(s).
➝ Prepare Baseline data
➝ Check if any Performance gaps are available?
➝ Look at benchmarks, standards, regulatory requirements
➝ Validate problem and statement
➝ Management review

[3] Identify Root Causes:

➝ This is a very very important step
➝ Utilize the Cause and Effect Diagram (Fishbone Diagram or Ishikawa Diagram, or Why-Why analysis to identify the most likely cause(s).
➝ Use Genchi Gembutsu Method
➝ Select root_cause
➝ Management review

[4] Generate and Choose Solutions:

➝ Generate a list and select_solutions
➝ Directly linked to root cause & supported by data
➝ Team brainstorming and shared decision making
➝ Be honest about barriers
➝ Choose the best_solution based on criteria
➝ Define and map out a solution
➝ Develop solution(s) to remove the root_cause(s)
➝ Select the best_solution(s) to remove the root_cause(s)
➝ Verify the effectiveness of the selected_solutions
➝ Verify that selected_solutions do not cause any undesirable effects
➝ Set a Target that you want to achieve

Implementation of Do Phase:

[5] Map Out and Implement a Trial Run:

➝ Map out a trial run
➝ Communication and education/training are key factors
➝ Be specific
➝ Implement a trial run
➝ Ensure all the countermeasures are completed
➝ It involves collecting data for later analysis.
➝ It ensures the solution is appropriately tested.

Implementation of Check Phase:

➝ The check phase has two sub-phases which are mentioned below.
06. Analyze the Results
07. Draw Conclusions

[6] Analyze the Results:

➝ Evaluate results based on collected data
➝ Team-based analysis
➝ Objective and subjective data
➝ Revisit the process as it was mapped out
➝ Be honest!
➝ Evaluate both Results and Process
➝ Involves analyzing the collected data and comparing the actual results against the planned objectives.
➝ Allows discussing whether further improvements are possible.
➝ You may have to repeat the Do and Check a number of times until you get the optimum results.

[7] Draw Conclusions:

➝ Team-based discussion.
➝ Was the root cause eliminated?
➝ What worked?
➝ Did the desired change occur?
➝ What didn’t work?
➝ What could be improved/changed?
➝ Implement the best solution(s) to remove the root cause(s)
➝ What did we learn?
➝ Implement the best solution(s) to address the escape point(s)
➝ Validate the effectiveness of the implemented solutions from Customer's perspective
➝ Monitor the effectiveness of the implemented solutions and assure that they do not cause any undesirable effects
➝ Remove Interim Containment Actions

Implementation of Act Phase:

➝ The last phase is the act phase and it has two sub-phases as mentioned below.
08. Adopt, Adapt, or Abandon the Intervention
09. Monitor; Hold the gains

[8] Adopt, Adapt, or Abandon the Intervention:

➝ Team-based discussion and beyond
➝ Test again on a larger scale?
➝ Communication, education, and training
➝ Revise plan and repeat trial
➝ Communication, education, and training
➝ Revisit root cause analysis and/or list of solutions
➝ Need additional/new members on the team?
➝ Involves acting on the feedback and lessons learned and implementing the solution
➝ It is also concerned with Standardizing, Documenting, and Sustaining the improved process.
➝ Integrating it into the organization’s system.

[9] Monitor; Hold the gains:

➝ Standardize the change
➝ Change to department policy?
➝ Continue to monitor improvement
➝ Same data collection tools and process
➝ Continue reporting to staff and management
➝ Move to new improvement opportunity
➝ Standardize Success and Learn from Failures

Useful Tools for PDCA Cycle:

➝ There are several useful tools of the PDCA Cycle is mentioned in the below picture.

Useful tool for PDCA Cycle

What are the benefits of the PDCA cycle?

➝ PDCA approach encourages the way of problem-solving and implementing solutions.
➝ PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) approach ensures that you plan, test, and include feedback before you start full-scale implementation.
➝ Repeating the PDCA_Cycle frequently will help to implement Kaizen and other continuous improvement initiatives.
➝ PDCA_approach brings you closer to your goals as knowledge is increased: from solving problems, from failures, from the feedback received.
➝ This approach Improves the critical thinking skills of your team
➝ It also Helps to reach towards a more integrated system.

👉 See Also:


  1. Superb and in detail for any start-up entrepreneur to learn and implement the process.

  2. Nice explanation and it will be appreciated if the article explained and then with one example of application of the methods

    1. Thanks for your input we will surely share the same

  3. Sir you have any YouTube channel ?

  4. Superb.
    Well explained. Thank you so much


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