Published on July 31st, 2013 | by jp0
The Plan-Do-Check-Act Problem Solving Tool
Have you ever heard of the PDCA problem solving tool? Most people don’t know what it is or even what it is about, but they complete the steps without even realizing it. Everybody has problems that they’re going to be dealing with in their own way. This is just a simple tool to help them realize different solutions to the same problem quickly.
Here’s a little bit more about the different phases of the PDCA problem solving tool, that way you can better understand exactly what it is for and how to use it.
Four Phases of PDCA
There are four phases in a cycle that you have to be well aware of. As was mentioned earlier, many people use this strategy for dealing with their problems, but do not realize that they’re actually doing so. Here are the four phases and a little description about each phase to give you a better understanding of how this tool is going to help you solve some of your issues.
The first phase is the “Planning” phase. This phase is where you want to identify the problem or what is bothering you. To better understand exactly what is going on, you have to identify the problem that you’re going to be facing. Without any information about the problem, it’s very hard to come up with a solution or go to the next step. Once you are in the planning phase, you will have a better understanding of what is bothering you. That way you can move forward and identify possible solutions.
The next phase that you have to worry about is that “Do” phase. This is where you start testing all of the theories that you have come up with in order to fix your problem. Start testing your possible solutions to fix the problem that you’re facing. You want to make sure that you choose the best solution to fix the problem.
The next step in this tool is the “Check” phase. This is where you measure how effective (or not) your solutions actually were. Compare each result to see you whether one way is better than the other. By comparing your results, you will be able to determine if you can refine or modify a solution to make it more effective.
The last phase that you have to deal with in this problem solving tool is actually acting upon your solution. You have gone through the entire process of testing all the possible outcomes to your problem and now it is time to put everything in motion. By choosing the best possible solution, you are ready for the “Act” phase. By acting on all of the decision-making that you’ve done up to this point, you should get a better outcome because you have throughly tested all of the theories you have come up with and selected the best one possible.
This is the essence of the PDCA problem solving method: Planning Do Check and Act. It is a quick and highly effective approach for finding and eliminating problems quickly.