Design and Implementation

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.

Figure 1. Plan-Do-Check-Act

Steps Actions
  • Identify needs and opportunities
  • Set your expectations
  • Define your basic plan to meet your needs and opportunities
  • Determine financial and personnel requirements and schedule
  • 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
  • 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
  • Determine what, if anything, needs to be changed
  • Identify specific adjustments
  • Determine if we stay with our current plan or if we want to take on anything else[35]

Image adapted from W. Edwards Deming Institute. (n.d.). PDSA cycle [Web page]. Retrieved from


[34] W. Edwards Deming Institute. The Plan, Do, Study, Act (PDSA) Cycle [Web page]. Retrieved from

[35] Excerpted from W. Edwards Deming Institute. (n.d.). PDSA cycle [Web page]. Retrieved from