SPEAK TO THE PROBLEMS
(SHORT NOTES FROM PROBLEM SOLVING SKILLS:
Problem-Solving Approaches at http://www.mindtools.com)
Implementing New Ideas in a Controlled Way
Also known as the PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) Cycle, or Deming Cycle
Something needs to change. Where the consequences of getting things wrong are significant, it often makes sense to run a well-crafted pilot project. That way things get to be fixed and improved before fully committing your reputation and resources.
A popular tool for doing just this is the Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle. This is often referred to as the Deming Cycle or the Deming Wheel after its proponent, W Edwards Deming. It is also sometimes called the Shewhart Cycle.
The four phases in the Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle involve:
· Plan: Identifying and analyzing the problem.
· Do: Developing and testing a potential solution.
· Check: Measuring how effective the test solution was, and analyzing whether it could be improved in any way.
· Act: Implementing the improved solution fully.
These are shown in Figure 1 below.
The PDCA Cycle encourages to be methodical in the approach to problem solving and implementing solutions.
Step 1: Plan
· First, identify exactly the problem.
· useful to use tools:
o Drill Down
o Cause and Effect Diagrams
o 5 Whys
Step 2: Do
· phases involves:
o Generate possible solutions.
o Select the best solutions, using techniques like Impact Analysis to scrutinize them.
o Implement a pilot project on a small scale basis.
Step 3: Check
· measure how effective the pilot solution has been
· gather together any learnings from it that could make it even better
Step 4: Act
· implement solution fully.
· seek out further areas for improvement.
The Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) Cycle provides a simple but effective approach for problem solving and managing change, where the ideas are appropriately tested before committing to full implementation. PDCA can be used in all sorts of environments.