What is the PDCA Model?

The PDCA Model is a Problem-Solving tool that suggests 4 simple Steps to achieve Goals efficiently.

  • Its Name is an acronym for the Steps suggested: Plan, Do, Check, Act.

 

These steps can (or should) be repeated cyclically in order to improve the results obtained.

 

As in many other Continuous-Improvement tools, the more you repeat the cycle, the closer you will be to finding the solution or reaching the end goal.

Four Steps of the PDCA Model

1. Plan: In this first Step, you should:

  • Define the Problem or the Goal you want to achieve.
  • Design a Strategy or a Method to do it.

 

2. DoIn this Step, you should:

  • Implement the necessary actions to comply with the Plan.

 

3: Check: In this Step, you should:

  • Check the results obtained.
  • Choose and Use the right metrics.
  • Find out what worked and what didn’t.

 

4: Act: In this Step, you should:

  • Adopt the modifications that have proven to work.
  • Come up with a new Plan to fix what isn’t working yet.

 

This cycle is meant to be repeated frequently:

  • If you have not been able to reach your initial Goal, you must repeat it until you have achieved it.
  • If you have reached your initial Goal, you should look for the Next one.

 

Let’s see the first example so that you understand it better:

PDCA Model example

 

Imagine that you own a Restaurant specialized in ribs.

  • You are doing relatively well but recently, your ribs are not as appreciated as in the past.
    • You think people are a little “tired” of your recipe.

 

You want to discover a new recipe that will drive your customers crazy.

 

Since you are not a very methodical person, you decide to use the PDCA Model:

 

Plan

 

Your Goal is to find a new successful Recipe for your Ribs.

To do so:

  • You’ll start offering 5 alternatives to your Clients.
  • Every week, you will keep the top 3 and introduce 2 new ones.

You’ll use an iterative process to find which ingredients and cooking processes your customers like best.

 

Do

 

The first week, you prepare the 5 best recipes you know, listing all the ingredients that each one has and what cooking processes you followed.

  • Once you have feedback, you’ll make different modifications.

 

Check

 

At the end of every week, you check the most successful recipes.

  • The ingredients they have (spices, amount of salt, rib supplier, etc).
  • The cooking process used (which charcoal yo used, how much time you employed, etc).

Your goal in this step is to see if your recipes are going in the right direction.

 

Act

 

Once you have checked the best recipes, you analyze and decide what new recipes you will use next week.

 

Result:

  • After 3 months of research, you end up with a successful recipe that has been undefeated for 4 consecutive weeks.

As you may be thinking right now, this model can be used in very different situations in very different ways.

 

But why is it important that you use it?

Why is the PDCA Model important?

In general, people tend to be chaotic when looking for solutions to their problems.

  • Also, we all tend to settle for the first solution we get.
    • Once we’ve found a “solution” we don’t look for a better option.

 

The PDCA Method offers you 4 simple Steps to follow and encourages you to keep improving your results permanently.

As we always say: Just because something is intuitive doesn’t mean it’s obvious.

 

But, when should you use this Tool?

When should you use the PDCA Model?

This is one of the few methods that can be used in any situation.

 

Even if you don’t use it explicitly, you can act according to its dynamics:

  • To Plan something, Do it, Check your results and Modify what needs to be modified.

 

If is a very simple and flexible Model that can be very useful:

  • For Starting new Projects.
  • To improve a Product or Service.
  • To improve Personal Skills.
  • etc.

You can even use it to lose a few kilos.

PDCA Model examples

Now, we will share with you some examples of different situations where the PDCA Model can be of great help.

 

Let’s begin:

Clothing Store - PDCA Model example

 

Now, let’s imagine you have started your own Clothing Store.

  • However, you’re still not sure which product line would best suit your customers’ preferences.

 

You decide to use the PDCA Model:

 

Plan

 

Every 2 weeks, you’ll introduce 2 new product lines.

At the end of those 2 weeks, you’ll analyze:

  • Which products brought more customers.
  • Which products gave you the most benefits.

 

Depending on the results obtained, you’ll decide which new product-lines you’ll introduce the next 2 weeks.

  • You’ll repeat this process for the next 6 months.

 

Do

 

Every 2 weeks, you introduce the new products.

You decide promote the new products as special opportunities.

  • This way you won’t give a chaotic impression to your customers.

 

Check

 

At the end of every 2 weeks you analyze your results:

  • Number of clients you have received.
  • Customer preferences.
  • Benefits obtained.

Have the changes taken effect?

 

Act

 

Finally, you decide what new product lines you will introduce the next 2 weeks.

  • Since you would need some time to talk to your suppliers, you could introduce a 1 month delay in your operations.

 

The products that work best will give you an idea of ​​what to do.

 

Result:

  • After 6 months, you find the product line that bests suits your customers’ preferences and maximizes your profits.

Blogging - PDCA Model example

 

Now, we’re going to imagine that you have just started your own Blog.

  • You love writing, but you’re not sure what would drive the most traffic to your blog.
    • This is a very common situation.

 

Therefore, you decide to use the PDCA Method:

 

Plan

 

Since Google needs time to Rank content correctly, you will develop a 1-year plan.

 

The first 6 months, you’ll write about 5 different Topics that you like the most.

  • If you want to have a successful Blog, you need to love what you write about.

 

After those 6 months, you’ll decide what 3 Topics you’ll write about the next 6 months.

  • By choosing the 3 most popular Topics.

 

Finally, after 1 year, you’ll chose your final main Blog Topic.

 

Do

 

Every week, you’ll write 2 good Blog Posts.

  • In the first 6 months, you’ll have written 10 Posts of each Topic.

 

Check

 

After 6 months you analyze:

  • Which Topics were most popular.
  • What Post Structure was most successful (length, appearance).

Google offers an infinity of tools and metrics for this.

 

Were your assumptions and predictions correct?

 

Act

 

After 6 months, you decide what Topics to focus on and what Structure you will follow the next 6 months.

 

Result:

  • After an exhausting year, you finally have found your niche and your results do not stop growing.

Personal Trainer - PDCA Model example

 

Now, you are a Personal Trainer.

  • You have different clients that you train regularly.

You are thinking of a new type of training but you are not sure how to design it.

 

You then decide to use the PDCA Method:

 

Plan

 

You decide to offer 4 of your Clients a new training method.

You will test different versions of it and measure the Weight loss and Customer satisfaction of each version.

 

After 2 months, you’ll decide what modifications you can make to each training method and you’ll repeat the whole process with 4 new Clients.

 

You’ll repeat this cycle 3 times: you’ll need 6 months.

 

Do

 

Every week, you prepare the training of your 4 “special” Clients closely, measuring:

  • Their satisfaction (with a simple and quick test).
  • Their weight loss.
  • Their health in general.

 

Check

 

Every 2 months, you collect all the results obtained and decide what works best and what doesn’t.

  • By doing this you can introduce further modifications for the training of the new 4 clients.

 

Act

 

Finally, you introduce the modifications necessary for the new training programs and you offer it to 4 different Clients.

 

Result:

  • After 6 months you end up with a new effective training that people love.

Summarizing

The PDCA Model is an iterative problem-solving tool that proposes 4 simple Steps to achieve Goals efficiently.

  • These steps should be repeated cyclically until the Goal has been achieved.

 

The 4 Steps proposed are:

  • Plan: Prepare your Goals and Strategy.
  • Do: Take the necessary actions.
  • Check: Test your results.
  • Act: Introduce the necessary modifications.

 

In general, people tend to be chaotic when looking for solutions to their problems.

  • The PDCA Method offers 4 simple Steps to follow.

 

It is a very simple and flexible model that can be used in many situations.

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