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The PDCA / PDSA Cycle

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Deming Cycle

Summary of the PDCA / PDSA Cycle by Deming. Abstract


Walton and Edwards Deming, 1986

Deming's PDSA cycle or PDCA cycle is a continuous quality improvement model consisting of a logical sequence of four repetitive steps for continuous improvement and learning: Plan, Do, Study (Check) and Act.


The PDCA cycle is also known as the Deming Cycle, or as the Deming Wheel or as the Continuous Improvement Spiral.


It originated in the 1920s with the eminent statistics expert Mr. Walter A. Shewhart, who introduced the concept of PLAN, DO and SEE. The late Total Quality Management (TQM) guru and renowned statistician W. Edwards Deming modified the Shewart cycle as: PLAN, DO, STUDY, and ACT.

Along with the other well-known American quality guru-J.M. Juran, Deming went to Japan as part of the occupation forces of the allies after World War II. Deming taught a lot of Quality Improvement methods to the Japanese, including the usage of statistics and the PLAN, DO, STUDY, ACT cycle.


  • Daily routine management-for the individual and/or the team
  • Problem-solving process
  • Project management
  • Continuous development
  • Vendor development
  • Human resources development
  • New product development
  • Process trials

The PDSA phases:

Deming Cycle PDSA

  • PLAN: plan ahead for change. Analyze and predict the results.
  • DO: execute the plan, taking small steps in controlled circumstances.
  • STUDY: CHECK, study the results.
  • ACT: take action to standardize or improve the process.

In her
book "The Deming Management Method" Mary Watson tells about the life of the business guru the late W. Edwards Deming. The industrial miracle in Japan was a prime example of what can happen when a nation commits itself to quality and long-range vision instead of the latest illness: "Turning a Fast Buck-itis." In less then 50 years, Japan went from making rubber dog-shit, to turning out some of the highest quality precision work in the world. When Dr. Deming first began speaking in America, America was still riding along on the post-war victory wave. No one would listen to him. The Japanese welcomed him, and even today, traces of his quality-control methods are still seen in the industrial workplace.

The PDSA cycle is related to Kaizen thinking and Just-in-time manufacturing.

👀TIP: On this website you can find much more about continuous quality improvement and the Deming Cycle!

Compare also:  Six Sigma  |  Value Chain  |  Value Stream Mapping  |  OODA Loop

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