PDCA, or Plan Do Check Act, is a management technique used in business for the control and development of processes. This act enhances the overall working and growth of an organization. Developed by an American physicist, Walter A. Shewhart, this cycle is also referred to as the Shewhart Cycle or the Control Circle Cycle. The process helps in improving the overall performance of the process and the employees of the business. 

PDCA gained its recognition from quality control developer Dr. W. Edwards Deming in 1950. 

How the PDCA Cycle Works 


PDCA is a management strategy that works on continuously improving the processes of an organization. The cycle is primarily based on four stages- plan, do, check, and act. Such methodologies are necessary for any business to plan changes and update its strategies and processes according to the evolving market trends.

The concept of PDCA is totally dependent on the continuous improvement process that needs to be applied in these four stages to make processes better and more effective. 

  • This strategy requires a diagnosis to be conducted, which will analyze a business's existing problems or concerns.
  • After analyzing the entire diagnosis, the areas that need improvement should be defined. After defining your goal, you should break it down into several realistic objectives. 
  • After the team gets aligned together, it's important to convey the objectives to the entire team. 
  • Create an action plan with the tasks that should be performed to achieve the aims and objectives. 
  • Define deadlines and a schedule that has to be followed by every person to ensure the action plan is progressing according to the defined target. 
  • You must define your KPIs. 
  • Implement your plan according to the action plan decided along with your team. 
  • After the implementation is complete, check if the objectives are met. Analyze your pre-defined KPIs.
  • Correct the failures, if detected and focus on the solutions to prevent them in the future. 

Phases of the PDCA Cycle

The PDCA Cycle has four faces: Plan, Do, Check, and Act. 


P: Plan

Planning is the first phase of the PDCA cycle, where the following steps should be performed: 

  • Conduct a diagnosis of the processes of your organization. 
  • After the diagnosis is complete, analyze the results and define the areas that need improvement. 
  • Define your objectives and create an action plan that could help in improving the areas that need improvement. 
  • Address the entire plan to your team and assign responsibilities and tasks to each individual. 
  • Set deadlines and a schedule that needs to be followed throughout the execution of the planned action plan.
  • Identify your KPIs so that you can analyze the results of the entire action plan easily. 

D: Do

The second phase of the PDCA act involves implementing the set of responsibilities and duties that have been predefined in the previous stage. 

  • Implement the action plan and provide the necessary training to your team, if required. 
  • During the execution process, try to collect data so that you can monitor the processes easily. 

C: Check

The next stage of this act requires checking and analyzing the results. 

  • Assess all the Key Performance Indicators(KPIs) to track the plan's performance. 
  • Analyze the results and make sure there are any problems or failures detected. 
  • These problems could be handled in the next stage. 

A: Act 

The A is PDCA stands for act as well as adjust. In this stage, you can make prior adjustments to resolve the errors detected. 

In this stage, there can be two possible outcomes: 

  • Project successful: The plan can act as an example for future development plans for other company departments. 
  • Failures: If some failures or errors were detected, solutions could be found, and adjustments could be made to fix the errors. 

When to Use PDCA

The main objective of PDCA is to simplify management processes. These processes can be used to solve problems, make informed decisions, and devise innovative ideas for future growth. 

PDCA can be used in any process of your business to enhance and improve its efficiency. These cycles can offer improved quality and customer service in your organization. You can use PDCA for: 

  • Managing Routines 

Managing your company's day-to-day activities and processes is important. You can do this by using the PDCA Act to keep track of the daily processes of your business. 

  • Managing Improvements 

Improvements are an integral part of ensuring the quality of service in your organization. When you know which domain of your company needs improvement, you work on it efficiently to be more strong and agile in the future. Running PDCA processes to improve your business's domains continually is beneficial.

  • Stock Management 

This process can be used to manage the stock and know what is required and what is abundant in the storehouse. 


PDCA is an advantageous and very progressive process that can be very beneficial for managing day-to-day business activities. Worldwide famous brands like Nike implement the PDCA act to streamline its manufacturing process. Nestle uses this process to reduce its waste and help maintain the ecological balance. It is important to define your goals and implement such strategies on a daily basis to look for any issues in the processes of your business. 

If you're serious about improving your organization's processes, Simplilearn's Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification Training Course is the best investment you can make. It will teach you how to use PDCA to identify opportunities for improvement, plan and implement change, measure the results of your changes, and act to sustain those results.


1. Is PDCA the same as Total Quality Management (TQM)?

No, PDCA is a four-step management process to improve the processes of an organization. At the same time, TQM is a management theory that aims to achieve high-quality products and services.

2. What is the difference between PDCA and DSA?

PDCA is a method for continuously improving the processes of a business, whereas DSA is an algorithm in the programming language. 

3. What are the 4 stages of the PDCA cycle?

The PDCA cycle involves four phases: 

  • Plan: Planning the Action plan for improvement 
  • Do: Implementing the action plan 
  • Check: Analyzing the results 
  • Act: Fixing and adjusting the problems or failures. 

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