PDCA Cycle | Plan Do Check Act | Deming Cycle

PDCA Cycle is described in this video. The basics and the relation with other improvement cycles are treated.

✅ Related Videos:

Continuous Improvement

✅ Transcript of the video

The Plan Do Check Act Cycle is also known as Plan Do Check Adjust.

This cycle is also called the Deming Cycle after William Deming, who was a promoter and popularizer.

It is the most used of the improvement cycles.

I must emphasize that perhaps it is also not understood in depth by many organizations.

In particular, there is a tendency to spend a lot of time in the DO phase, forgetting almost completely the Plan – Check – Act phases.

The PDCA Cycle is a scientific method.

Deming pointed out that the four phases had to be balanced.

It is not correct to go fast on the PLAN, to spend a lot of time on the DO, to skip the phase of CHECK, and to spend little time on the ACT phase.

The PDCA Cycle is considered one of the fundamental pillars of the Toyota Production System.

Deming argued that organizations should think about change and improvement like a scientific experiment.

They should make assumptions, observe phenomena, perform experiments, and learn from failures by refuting hypotheses.

Let’s now go into the details of each phase.


The Plan phase is not just about planning what to do.

This phase also has the purpose of communicating, detailing the purpose of the activity, discussing, and building consensus.

Hypotheses about the desired outcome must also be formulated during this phase to be critically reviewed in the CHECK phase.

The PLAN phase is also used to plan the cycle execution times.

It is said that the approach of Japanese companies is to spend a lot of time planning in order to have a faster and smoother implementation.

Even Einstein was of this opinion when reading a famous aphorism of him: “If I had only one hour to save the world, I would spend fifty-five minutes defining the problem, and only five minutes finding the solution.”

▶ STEP 2 – DO

This phase, if you took adequate time in the previous phase, should go well and quickly.

In summary of this phase, the planned improvement must be realized, usually in a prototype stage.


This phase is of vital importance for an organization that wants to become a “Learning Organization.”

Very often it is a phase that is skipped, and many learning opportunities are missed.

Here are some questions for a good check phase:

– Is it working as you predicted?
– Did it work out as planned?
– If not working as planned, what caused the gap?
– What we can learn from this experience?

▶ STEP 4 – ACT

This step is also called “Adjust.” If we have worked well, we will be able to standardize the goals achieved.

The new standard achieved must reflect the best process currently obtainable.

Clearly, the process will not be frozen forever.

You have to think of improvement as a continuous movement from a standard to a better standard.

This continuous cycle is triggered by another iteration of the PDCA Cycle.

▶ Conclusions

The PDCA cycle is believed to be the basic improvement cycle.

The overlaps of the phases of the PDCA cycle with other improvement cycles such as 8D, SIX SIGMA, and A3 Problem Solving should be evident.

Regardless of the improvement cycle, you would like to adopt, remember that discipline in not jumping is fundamental to the steps and dedicate the right time for each phase.



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