Step 3: Check
Depending on the success of the pilot, the number of areas for improvement you have identified, and the scope of the whole initiative, you may decide to repeat the “Do” and “Check” phases, incorporating your additional improvements.
Once you are finally satisfied that the costs would outweigh the benefits of repeating the Do-Check sub-cycle any more, you can move on to the final phase.
Step 4: Act
When to use the Deming Cycle
Clearly, use of a Deming Cycle approach is slower and more measured than a straightforward "gung ho" implementation. In true emergency situations, this means that it may not be appropriate (however, it's easy for people to think that situations are more of an emergency than, in reality, they really are...)
The Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) Cycle provides a simple but effective approach for problem solving and managing change, ensuring that ideas are appropriately tested before committing to full implementation. It can be used in all sorts of environments from new product development through to marketing, or even politics.
It begins with a Planning phase in which the problem is clearly identified and understood. Potential solutions are then generated and tested on a small scale in the “Do” phase, and the outcome of this testing is evaluated during the Check phase. “Do” and “Check” phases can be iterated as many times as is necessary before the full, polished solution is implemented in the “Act” phase.
The next tour article explains the Action Priority Matrix - a great technique for making the most of the opportunities open to you. To read this, click 'Next article' below.