Process Improvement: PDSA Cycle (Plan)Posted on October 1, 2017

Why are leaders hesitant to focus on this? Once you have identified an opportunity for improvement using one of the tools we have discussed, you are ready to move onto the next phase. This phase is called the PDSA cycle. PDSA stands for Plan, Do, Study, Act. We are going to talk about the first step: Plan. We may identify an opportunity so glaring or so obvious that we want to jump right into implementing the change. PDSA allows us to test the change on a small scale. What is the case for doing it anyway? Though we may want to dive right into a full scale correction, the test will help us ensure that our proposal is adequate for helping improve the process. The plan phase is the first step in the correction. Here you will craft a strategy for how to improve your process and develop a test for your intervention. This test will serve as a baseline for a broader deployment of your change. Because the scope will be small, it will allow you to identify issues with the plan without having too broad of an impact on your overall processes. How can you do it? 
  1. Choose a process improvement tool. Using whichever process improvement tool best fits your opportunity, analyze your process.
  2. Identify your opportunity. Where are your gaps? What does your tool tell you needs improved? This will be the focus of your plan.
  3. Consult the experts. Don’t develop your plan in a silo. Invite experts into your process and people who can provide constructive feedback.
  4. Develop a plan. Using all of this information, finalize your plan to test your change. Consider what portion of your process you want to test and how your test can be measured.
Have you ever used a PDSA cycle?  We learn best from each other’s experiences.
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