W. Edwards Deming is famous for developing a continuous quality improvement model. It’s a sequence of four steps that can take you through any project successfully and creates a benchmark for you to follow.
It’s known as the PDCA model or cycle, the letters standing for Plan, Do, Check, Act
Of the many management models available, Deming’s is one of the most straightforward. Its analysis of how change can be managed has helped various businesses drive towards improved productivity and profits. The essential elements are:
PLAN: plan ahead for change. Analyse and predict the results.
DO: execute the plan, taking small steps in controlled circumstances.
CHECK, study the results.
ACT: take action to standardise or improve the process.
Each of these stages can be monitored for any project you’re working on, and create a great framework for you to assess your results.
Which stage is the most important?
They all link together, but if the plan isn’t laid on solid foundations for improvement, the results won’t drive the business forward. Executing a plan is important, but if the results aren’t measured and monitored, you are simply taking action for the sake of it, and can’t make contingency arrangements.
Results will occur whatever action you take, but if you want to get the same results again, you need to identify the recipe and standardise the actions you take, so you can get the same results again.
Deming’s model has been used effectively all over the world, and offers a sound basis for changing your approach to work.