| Login
facebook twitter linkedin
Tuesday , November 12 , 2019
You are here:  BSC Basics  >  Articles & Videos  >  The Deming Cycle

The Deming Cycle

By Paul Arveson

W. Edwards Deming in the 1950's proposed that business processes should be analyzed and measured to identify sources of variations that cause products to deviate from customer requirements. He recommended that business processes be placed in a continuous feedback loop so that managers can identify and change the parts of the process that need improvements. As a teacher, Deming created a (rather oversimplified) diagram to illustrate this continuous process, commonly known as the PDCA cycle for Plan, Do, Check, Act*:

  • PLAN: Design or revise business process components to improve results
  • DO: Implement the plan and measure its performance
  • CHECK: Assess the measurements and report the results to decision makers
  • ACT: Decide on changes needed to improve the process

Deming's PDCA cycle can be illustrated as follows:

Plan-Do-Check-Act

Deming's focus was on industrial production processes, and the level of improvements he sought were on the level of production. In the modern post-industrial company, these kinds of improvements are still needed but the real performance drivers often occur on the level of business strategy. Strategic deployment is another process, but it has relatively longer-term variations because large companies cannot change as rapidly as small business units. Still, strategic initiatives can and should be placed in a feedback loop, complete with measurements and planning linked in a PDCA cycle. To illustrate the relationship of business unit processes to strategic processes, we may construct two nested PDCA cycles:

Double Loop

This 'wheel within a wheel' describes the relationship between strategic management and business unit management in a large company. There are actually several separate business units, of course, each with its own set of metrics, goals, targets and initiatives. But this figure illustrates the idea that the business activities constitute the DO part of the overall strategic effort.

* Note: The PDCA cycle was in fact originally developed by Walter A, Shewhart, a Bell Laboratories scientist who was Deming's friend and mentor, and the developer of Statistical Process Control (SPC) in the late 1920s.  So sometimes this is referred to as the "Shewhart Cycle".  There are also several recent variations on this concept.   See The Man Who Discovered Quality by A. Gabor, Penguin Books, 1990.

©1998 Paul Arveson

 

Quick Links
plan - DO - CHECK...
Do you follow a disciplined process for performance measure development? If not, check out our KPI Professional Certification course.



There is nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency something that should not be done at all.
W. Edwards Deming

Learn to focus your process improvement efforts on strategy. Check out Balanced Scorecard Professional Certification.


Garth Brooks and the Music Industry’s Performance Measurement Problem

By David Wilsey

How Can They All Be Our Customers?
By Howard Rohm

 

Latest Blog Entry

Relationships – the Key to Generational Leadership

By: Terry Sterling

One of the key elements of effective leadership centers around relationships.  It is about knowing how to get the optimum performance from the people you interact with and are responsible for, whether at work, in your community or at home.  It is being able to gain their trust; being able to motivate them; and gaining their unwavering support regardless of the circumstances you find yourself in.
0 Comments
RSS