Deming Cycle, The Continuous Improvement Cycle

Deming Cycle, PDCA

The Deming Cycle, or PDCA Cycle (or also known as PDSA Cycle), is a continuous quality improvement (CI) model consisting out of a logical sequence of four repetitive steps for continuous improvement and learning.

Plan, Do, Check (Study) and Act.

The PDCA cycle (or PDSA) is also known the Deming wheel of continuous improvement spiral. Its origin can be traced back to the eminent statistics expert Mr. Walter A. Shewart, in the 1920’s. He introduced the concept of PLAN, DO and SEE. The late Total Quality Management (TQM) guru and renowned statistician Edward W. Deming modified the SHEWART cycle as: PLAN, DO, STUDY, and ACT.

Along with the other well-known American quality guru-J.M. Juran, Deming went to Japan as part of the occupation forces of the allies after World War II. Deming taught a lot of Quality Improvement methods to the Japanese, including the usage of statistics and the PLAN, DO, STUDY, ACT cycle.

The Deming cycle, or PDSA cycle:

PLAN: plan ahead for change. Analyze and predict the results.
DO: execute the plan, taking small steps in controlled circumstances.
STUDY / CHECK: check, study the results (looking for gaps to improve)
ACT: take action to standardize or improve the process.

Benefits of the PDCA (PDSA) cycle:

  • Daily routine management-for the individual and/or the team
  • Problem-solving process
  • Project management
  • Continuous development
  • Vendor development
  • Human resources development
  • New product development
  • Process trials


  1. Isigma

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