THE PLAN, DO, STUDY, ACT (PDSA) CYCLE
The PDSA Cycle is a systematic series of steps for gaining valuable learning and knowledge for the continual improvement of a product or process. Also known as the Deming Wheel, or Deming Cycle, the concept and application was first introduced to Dr. Deming by his mentor, Walter Shewhart of the famous Bell Laboratories in New York.
The cycle begins with the Plan step. This involves identifying a goal or purpose, formulating a theory, defining success metrics and putting a plan into action. These activities are followed by the Do step, in which the components of the plan are implemented, such as making a product. Next comes the Study step, where outcomes are monitored to test the validity of the plan for signs of progress and success, or problems and areas for improvement. The Act step closes the cycle, integrating the learning generated by the entire process, which can be used to adjust the goal, change methods or even reformulate a theory altogether. These four steps are repeated over and over as part of a never-ending cycle of continual improvement.