PDCA: Create your project of continuous and sustainable improvement [download your guide]

PDCA: Create your project of continuous and sustainable improvement [download your guide]

If you need to motivate your people and transform your organization, combining the PDCA method with concrete Change Management actions will help you structure an improvement project that will achieve sustainable results over time. In this article, you will find the main steps of the process.

The PDCA cycle, devised by Walter A. Shewhart and then popularized by Edward Deming, allows, through an iterative method, to quickly incorporate learnings and continually seek opportunities for improvement.


What can my organization achieve with this method?


  • improve the competitiveness of its products and services,
  • improve quality,
  • reduce costs and optimize productivity,
  • decrease prices and increase profitability,
  • improve customer satisfaction,
  • involve employees, achieve their commitment and improve their experience.



Identify the project, prioritize opportunities and find the cause.

  • Identify possible improvement projects based on the problems or opportunities you find in your sector, prioritize ideas and select the initiative
  • Structure the work team, assign roles and responsibilities and establish who will be the sponsor of the project and the team leader
  • Define the initiative, its scope, and the SMART objective
  • Make a situation diagnosis, map the process and identify wastes and bottlenecks
  • Identify the root cause of waste and bottlenecks
  • Think of possible solutions to attack the root cause of the problem, prioritize them and design your improvement proposal
  • Use the “5 how” technique to find the solution



Experience the change with a small-scale study

  • Prioritize the previous ideas and design the pilot test
  • Define indicators to measure the results of the pilot test
  • Experience the solution



Monitor, analyze the results and identify learnings.

  • See for yourself the development of experimentation and analyze what works and why and what does not work and why
  • Analyze the necessary changes in the plan based on the pilot test learnings
  • Use a visual management board to monitor the process
  • Establish control questions that function as alerts in case the plan goes out of the prescribed way



Incorporate learnings, make small improvements and standardize to support the solution. Start the cycle again.

  • Define an inheritance plan that indicates who should act in case the results are not adequate
  • Standardize new practices and procedures to ensure sustainability
  • Establish a control plan to ensure that new practices, procedures, and results are sustained once the project is finished

How to manage change throughout the process?


  • Analyze the requirements of the stakeholders affected to ensure their support throughout the entire project
  • Analyze the culture and evaluate the degree of preparation for change
  • Create a transformation plan that includes change management actions and indicators to monitor the results


Remember! Defining a change management strategy that accompanies your improvement and innovation plan will help build an agile, successful and sustainable transformation.

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