After working with a results-oriented boss for over a year and a half, I grew to appreciate PDCA as a good way to make plans, execute those plans, evaluate progress and act accordingly on findings to achieve my desired goals.
Known to many as Plan-Do-Check-Act, PDCA is a tool you can incorporate into your daily routine/workflow to be more hyper-productive. We often put off such small, yet effective practices because we feel it’s either a lot of work or we don’t want to face the reality of our flawed workflows.
Image credit: Sathish Chandramouli: Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA)
My first encounter with the PDCA practice in the workplace was at a daily standup meeting with my boss at the time, a man of Japanese origin. Although I understood and appreciated the value of PDCA, I didn’t immediately implement it into my workflow, until later on on the job.
It is a really simple, effective, and straightforward practice with actionable and quantifiable results.
PDCA was coined together by W. Edwards Deming, and many in Japan credit him as one of the inspirations for what has become known as the Japanese post-war economic miracle of 1950 to 1960 when Japan rose from the ashes of war on the road to becoming the second-largest economy in the world through processes partially influenced by the ideas Deming taught: —
- Better design of products to improve service
- Higher level of uniform product quality
- Improvement of product testing in the workplace and in research centers
- Greater sales through side [global] markets
photo credit: Internet (Source unknown)
The Whole idea of PDCA is to;
- Plan, which involves visualizing & laying out what you are trying to accomplish & what you think will get you there or that goal?
- Do, is where you faithfully execute the Plan to the last detail.
- Check, involves reviewing whether the results of the Do align with the set expectations in the Plan.
- Act, is where you then follow up the Check by making adjustments if necessary (most often to the Plan) and repeat the cycle as often as possible.
As we conclude, ask yourself this; —Do I need PDCA in my life?! If so, then what steps do I need to make in order to get my workflow aligned with PDCA? And then, move on to visualize how much more productive I can be if I consistently practice the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle.
PDCA when properly utilized can be a productivity game-changer for anyone’s personal or professional growth. But requires a lot of commitment, discipline, honesty & personal reflection. I would know!
It’s also important to know that PDCA has no strict outline. It can be customized to fit your workflow or industry. You just need to know how it fits your needs and if you really need it.