Continuous Improvement - PDCA - The CHECK Phase

Andrew Gowans

Visitors: 477

Let's start with our reminder of. . . “What is an improvement cycle?"

Make Continuous Improvement One Of Your Goals - As Soon As You Possibly Can (ID: 74077)

What Is An Improvement Cycle?

"Everything we do is a process, every process has a customer"

The Improvement Cycle is a highly disciplined and rigorous approach to problem solving using the Plan, Do, Check, Act (PDCA) methodology developed by Dr. W. Edwards Deming.

The Improvement Cycle consists of seven steps, 3 in the Plan phase, 1 in the Do phase, 1 in the Check phase, and 2 in the Act phase.

The PDCA cycle needs to be used in a continuous manner, select your theme or project, assess the current situation, plan and implement your solutions, check the effects of your changes, standardise on your new improved process, and plan for future improvements – the cycle continues.


Although a certain amount of value and benefit may be derived from implementing part of the PDCA improvement process, a far greater benefit will be achieved by sticking to the process and following all 4 phases as best you can. this is especially important when involving internal and/or external team members.

Apart from getting the chance to read the main article (ID: 74077), I hope you have also read and understood the importance of the PLAN and DO phases

"Continuous Improvement - PDCA - The PLAN Phase (ID: 76694)"
“Continuous Improvement - PDCA - The DO Phase (ID: 78506)"

- If you missed them, please take the time to read them first, then come back.


  • We have a PLAN and trust it
  • we implement the plan (DO)
  • we CHECK whether its working or not
  • if not, we fix it (ACT)
  • if it's working, we standardise on improvement (ACT)
  • Are you ready to check your results?

    What is it that makes PDCA get its results?

    For me the answer to that is twofold. . .

  • As a problem solving/decision making process it is as powerful helping individuals, groups or whole organizations minimize the risk in starting a new project or opportunity as it is in identifying root cause problems and facilitating the means by which we can fix them.
  • Secondly, where progress meetings or even plans themselves come to a standstill because of supposition, conjecture and even emotion (not to be confused with passion which is a totally different animal altogether), PDCA gives us the focus and the discipline through the CHECKING phase to analyse the data and base future decisions and actions based on that data.
  • Ask yourself, will I know, for definite, what the root cause of my success or lack of success actually is?

    If You (and your team) developed the plan of action, if you implemented that plan, if you gathered data over the agreed period of time against each of the measures that were set, then you are now ready to check what has happened and why it has happened.

    After an agreed amount of time, check the data you have been gathering, what results did you achieve, are you getting the desired results?

    N. B. Always check like with like, comparing your original data with new data gathered after you implemented the changes.

    STEP 5 Study Your Results

  • Monitor progress as defined in your plan

    - Are you following your plan? If not, why not?
    - Are you gathering data against your performance measures?
    - Are results being communicated effectively?
    - Is each change being documented?
    - Do you know exactly why you're getting what you're getting?

  • Gather and analyze more data if necessary
  • What are your measures telling you?
  • Are you on track or not? Would you know?
  • Are you getting the results you wanted?
  • NOTE: Depending on the number of changes made and the number of countermeasures implemented, your results may well be mixed. Some successful, some not.

    This is the basis of CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT. Because the PDCA model is being followed we have a number of choices we can make now. For example. . .

    If results are positive, if the problem or issue has been fixed, or the project/opportunity has been successful – go forward to
    Phase 4, Step 6 - ACT

    Please Note. . . Steps 6 and 7 of the Fourth Phase of PDCA, the ACT phase, will follow shortly in the next article.

    If results are not as you expected, depending on what your data analysis and comparisons are telling you, you may need to return to
    Phase 2, Step 4 - DO. “Continuous Improvement - PDCA - The DO Phase (ID: 78506)"

    However, if your analysis reveals a serious shortfall in results, you may need to return to
    Phase 1, Step 2 - PLAN. “Continuous Improvement - PDCA - The PLAN Phase (ID: 76694)"


    "What we see depends mainly on what we look for. "

    Sir John Lubbock


    Providing a focused problem solving approach through our personal and business coaching (especially to small businesses). This approach is linked to providing work at home businesses, affiliates and online businesses with PROFITABLE INTEGRATED SOLUTIONS.

    Our primary theme and overriding goal is to provide you with the right choices that fit your needs, solve your problems.

    Our website ‘’ is content rich with useful information, articles and resources.

    More importantly there are free to subscribe opportunities to help you by answering questions, offering guidance and our newsletter ‘The Webcoach News’. Why not check them all out?


    Article Source:

    Rate this Article:
    Tough Economy - "Increase Profitability by Boosting Your Investment in ..
    Rated 4 / 5
    based on 5 votes

    Related Articles:

    Continuous Improvement - PDCA - The PLAN Phase

    by: Andrew Gowans(September 28, 2005)

    Continuous Improvement - PDCA - The ACT Phase

    by: Andrew Gowans(October 12, 2005)

    Organisational Culture for Continuous Improvement

    by: John Hicks(May 23, 2005)

    5 Steps to Continuous Process Improvement

    by: Chris Anderson(February 11, 2005)

    Kaizen - Continuous Improvement Process

    by: Laurus Nobilis(April 12, 2008)

    Enable Continuous Improvement of IT Services through ITIL

    by: Arno Esterhuizen(August 16, 2005)

    Continuous Improvement in Hospital Quality of Care

    by: Skip Freedman(October 01, 2006)
    (Health and Fitness)

    Make Continuous Improvement One Of Your Goals - As Soon As You Possibly Can

    by: Andrew Gowans(September 21, 2005)

    The Role of Continuous Improvement Teams in Lean Future State Implementation

    by: Chuck Doyle(November 10, 2005)
    (Business/Team Building)

    Tough Economy - "Increase Profitability by Boosting Your Investment in ..

    by: Gregory Jerralds(October 06, 2008)
    (Business/Strategic Planning)