Skip main navigation

Plan Do Check Act or Adjust

In this section we will discuss how to implement the resolution to the problem.
#A Systematic way to test your problem resolution

A key concept of Lean thinking in Business Improvement, is that of the Deming Cycle, (W. Edwards Deming 1900 – 1983) or more commonly known as the PDCA Cycle (Plan, Do, Check Act).

Originated in 1920’s by Walter Shewhart (1891 – 1967) as Plan Do See, Deming extended and improved this to PDCA which we now understand as a systematic, step by step approach to testing the resolution to the problem.

PLAN: For a desired improvement in the way we currently do something What’s are our aim? What’s our target? Plan ahead for change. Analyse and predict the results. DO: Try out the planned improvement, execute the plan, taking small steps in a controlled manner. In other words, try it out, test it and put in place any improvements needed CHECK: Study the results, did we achieve our target? Was it of any benefit and if not, why not?
ACT or Adjust: Adopting the improvement as a normal way of doing things Think what next? If the target was not reached, use the lessons learned and repeat the cycle.

PDCA can be continuous and as the Japanese say, ‘good is not always good enough’ therefore we are always improving

There are many benefits of the PDCA cycle such as: Daily routine management – As it is so simple, it can be become habitual to all staff Problem-solving process Project management Continuous development Used for Vendor / Supplier development Human resources / People development New product development

We also use this method sub-consciously when we are planning something at home, DIY for example, we Plan it, Do it, Check its worked, then either make it better (adjust) or decide it’s the new normal (act), then using the lessons learned, look where else we can use our DIY skills.

This article is from the free online

Introduction to Business Improvement: Lean Six Sigma, Kaizen, and Problem Solving

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education