Process Improvement: PDSA Cycle (Act)Posted on October 22, 2017

Why are leaders hesitant to focus on this? Taking action is what we are called to do as leaders. The final step in the PDSA cycle is action. It is easy to want to jump directly to this step, but the purpose of the PDSA cycle is to facilitate an evaluation and decision making process that produces the best action. As leaders, we can be hesitant to let this process run it’s course. We must be intentional about following the steps to make sure that we make the best decision. What is the case for doing it anyway? Some times we will do a PDSA and the outcome will be exactly what we had anticipated. We will have a seamless transition to our new process and everything will be better because of it. However, the PDSA is even more valuable in scenarios where the initial outcome of our study was something other than what we anticipated. In these cases, we must take the proper action of starting the PDSA process over. Doing so will help us drill down into what caused the unexpected outcome and will get us back on the path to improvement. How can you do it?
  1. Understand what your analysis is telling you. Having conducted the first three steps of your PDSA, you should be able to identify if your plan was successful.
  2. Choose between proceeding or rebooting. In most PDSAs, you’re left with two options for action. Continue with the new process or restart the PDSA to continue to seek a better outcome.
  3. Act. Once you know what you want to do, go for it.
Have you ever used a PDSA cycle?
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