Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) Cycles – Part IV – The “Act/Adjust”

Posted on January 20, 2013 by






The final installment in the PDCA series deals with the ACT  portion of the cycle.  During this phase, the intent is to correct and/or standardize what was discovered during the Check phase.  This would be the opportunity to course correct for any yellow or red status items as well as an opportunity to institutionalize best practices and standardized work once the goals are met.  Individuals and work groups that are involved in or affected by the changes should be involved in this stage as they have ownership of the results as well.  It is always advisable to involve the front line worker in the problem solving process to some greater or lesser extent as they will usually out think you 90% of the time.

It is important to remember that should course correction be needed, the countermeasures are substantive in nature.  They should clearly identify the root cause of the variation as well as actual results versus the planned results to illustrate the current state.  Corrective actions taken should be ones that can be measured for effectiveness or quantifiable in terms of impact.  They should also have a timing associated with them so that they are not allowed to “drag out forever”.

PDCA cycles are just that… cycles. They are ongoing cycles or processes that drive incremental continuous improvement or kaizen that help propel the organization towards key performance indicators.