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 to achieve a goal, execute those plans, evaluate progress and act accordingly on findings.
It’s really simple, effective and straightforward with actionable results.
Known to many as Plan-Do-Check-Act, PDCA is that one tool we all need to implement into our daily routine workflow but often put off because it’s either a lot of work or we don’t want to face the reality of our flawed workflows.
My first encounter with PDCA was through 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.
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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 centres
- Greater sales through side [global] markets
The Whole idea of PDCA is to;
- Plan: Visualise & layout what are you trying to accomplish & what you think will get you there or that goal? (Define features, Prioritize, High-level design, infrastructure.)
- Do: Faithfully execute the Plan to the last detail. (Develop, Deploy)
- Check: then review if the results of the Do align with the set expectations in the Plan? (Final testing, Strategic goal measuring)
- Act: Follow up the Check by making adjustments if necessary (most often to the Plan) and repeat the cycle as often as possible. (Enhance project, Start new one)
PDCA if properly utilized can be a productivity game-changer for any business professional or otherwise. But a lot of commitment, discipline, self-honest is required. I would know!
The question now is, do you need PDCA in your life?! If so, then what steps do you need to get your workflow in order with PDCA? Then, visualize how much more productive your professional life will be if you consistently practise the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle.
It’s important to know that PDCA has no strict outline. It can be customised to fit your workflow or industry. You just need to know how it fits your needs and if you really need it.