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There are numerous well-known and effective approaches to putting initiatives in place. We detail specifics of a four-step approach, the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle. This straightforward approach calls for constant interaction and repetition among the steps to support continuous improvement. This dynamic and deliberate nonlinear process can instill sustainable change.

  • Plan what to do
  • Do it
  • Check the results
  • Act to make adjustments and improve

Plan
  • Identify needs and opportunities
  • Set your expectations
  • Define your basic plan to meet your needs and opportunities
  • Determine financial and personnel requirements, and schedule
Do
  • Identify who is responsible and affected
  • Develop procedures and tools to fulfill objectives and meet the plan
  • Develop and provide training relevant to the plan and the people involved
  • Follow the procedures, processes and tools
Check
  • Assess our performance
  • Determine if we met objectives and targets
  • Did things work as planned and as expected
  • Identify any “root” causes
  • Determine corrective actions
Act
  • Determine what, if anything, needs to be changed
  • Identify specific adjustments
  • Identify any “root” causes
  • Determine if we stay with our current plan or if we want to take on anything else

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[1] W. Edwards Deming Institute. The Plan, Do, Study, Act (PDSA) Cycle [Web page]. Retrieved from https://www.deming.org/theman/theories/pdsacycle