Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle

Acronym: 
PDCA
Also Known As: 
Deming Cycle
Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) Cycle
Shewhart Cycle
Description: 

Plan-do-check-act (PDCA) is a four step cycle that allows you to implement change, solve problems, and continuously improve processes. Its cyclical nature allows it to be utilized in a continuous manner for ongoing improvement.

Uses: 

When implementing change.

For problem solving.

For continuous improvement.

To develop a design.

How do I use this tool?: 

1. PLAN the change or improvement.

2. DO: Conduct a pilot test of the change.

3. CHECK: Gather data about the pilot change to ensure the change was successful.

4. ACT: Implement the change on a broader scale. Continue to monitor the change and iterate as necessary by repeating the cycle.

Expertise Required: 
This tool is easy to use and requires little or no training.
Advantages: 

Makes sure that all appropriate steps are followed.

Offers a systematic improvement method.

Is an effective process improvement guide.

Informs future improvement by providing feedback.

Maintains order during problem solving.

Disadvantages: 

Requires significant commitment over time.

Where can I go to learn more?: 

Yeager K. Program evaluation: this is rocket science. In: Roberts A, Yeager K, editors. Evidence-based practice manual: research and outcome measures in health and human services. New York, NY: Oxford University Press; 2004. p. 647-53.

American Society for Quality. Project planning and implementing tools: Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle. 2009 [cited 2009 July 23]; Available from: http://www.asq.org/learn-about-quality/project-planning-tools/overview/pdca-cycle.html

Silimperi D, Zanten V, Franco L. Framework for institutionalizing quality assurance. In: Roberts A, Yeager K, editors. Evidence-based practice manual: research and outcome measures in health and human services. New York, NY: Oxford University Press; 2004. p. 867-81.