In order for teamwork to run smoothly, it is important to manage employees properly. What is the Deming cycle and how can it affect team management?
What is the Deming cycle?
The Deming cycle – also known as PDCA, Deming wheel or Deming loop – is a management concept created by an American statistician also known as “quality guru”. The PDCA cycle is an acronym from the first letters of English words: plan, do, check, action, which mean: plan, do, check, improve. The Deming cycle assumes cyclic execution of all four stages and their repetition. The PDCA cycle exists in two versions: popular and original.
Popular version of the Deming cycle
The popular version of the Deming cycle was popularized mainly in the circles in which the philosophy of quality based on continuous improvement and the ISO standard concerning quality management are professed. In this version, the cycle is based on four consecutive activities:
- plan– define the process to be improved while finding solutions to improve it. Select the best solution from among all the approaches;
- do – do what you have planned;
- check– check whether the new process has brought the expected results, whether there is a need to improve it;
- action– if the new process brings the desired results, implement it and monitor the implementation of the entire process.
The original version of Deming’s cycle
After the end of his life, Deming expanded the interpretation of point three, or “check,” because a great many people were leaving out checking, which should also includeDesign of Experiments (DOE for short).
The Design of Experiments method consists of creating a mathematical formula based on data from an experiment with which optimization of products and processes can be calculated, without the need for continuous experiments. Thus, the PDCA version was changed to PDSA, which is also based on the following four steps:
- plan (from plan) – every change, even the smallest one, must be planned in advance, and it is also necessary to predict what its effect will be. It is worth estimating the modifications that are feasible to introduce. The plan of changes must be worked out in the smallest details with anticipation of the elements of surprise. Include in the plan the people who will be implementing it;
- do– put the plan into action, but on a small scale and under full control. Check that changes are implemented according to the plan;
- study–analyze the implemented changes, check whether the effects are consistent with previous assumptions. Draw conclusions from the implemented plan;
- apply, act– take actions that will implement the plan standard and its results will be most desirable.
the 5 most common mistakes when managing a team using PDCA
1. “No one can do it better than me – the boss”
Lack of teamwork and the mistaken assumption that no employee will do it better than “me-boss” – many people do not know how to delegate tasks to subordinates.
2. “After all, this is something I talked about a long time ago”
Very often it turns out that everyone knows how to do something, but no one does it. Managers discuss plans, congratulate the team on their ideas, and that’s where it ends. There is no transition to putting the plan into action.
3. “It doesn’t matter how, it matters that it works”
There is no room for stopgaps in the Deming cycle. There should be experimentation so that the action produces the best possible results.
4. “No verification of actions”
Increasingly, there is no willingness to verify that the plan put in place is working as expected. Data should be collected before and after the plan is put into action, this is the only way to know if everything is happening as intended.
5. “Solutions inadequate to the problem”
The solution should always be appropriate to the problem. It is not uncommon to find that the solution is not the answer to the problem.
Main article image: photo by solidcolours / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images