A circular process designed to be run again and again until the desired
result is achieved.
The above graphic is Dr. Deming's "Plan-Do-Check-Act" (PDCA) cycle.
(Deming called it the 'Shewhart Cycle')
Plan what you are going to do. In this step
you assess where you are, where you need to be, why this is important. You
will plan how to close the gap and identify some potential solutions.
Do try out or test the solutions. This
Do step is critical. You must Do something to realize
Check to see if the countermeasures you
tried had the desired effect. Make sure that there are no negative
consequences and assess if you have accomplished your goal.
Act on what you have learned. If you have
accomplished your goal, put controls in place to ensure the issue never
comes back again. If you have not accomplished your objective, go through
the cycle again, starting with the Plan step.
Frequently, a project will define sub-objectives. You run thorough the
PDCA cycle one or more times to accomplish the sub-objective, then define
the next objective and go through the cycle again. Thus, projects end up
"turning the wheel" many times before completion.
You can use this
process approach for almost anything.
It works just as well for
Incremental Software Development as it does for reducing Customer
Today, there are many process
improvement and quality models available to an organization. Most are
newer than the PDCA model and are often refinements from this older
established standard. If your organization already embraces a different
model, I will likely support it and help you foster that model.
I choose to use the PDCA model
because it clearly conveys a circular process with
easily understood steps. I use it to help convey a message.
My goal is to
foster improvement, which model you use is less important than achieving
the desired results.