I’ve been ruminating on this article for a few days now. I am seeing broken pdCA cycles as the root causes for so many problems. I see it here in the Center and in the hospitals and factories where we coach. I thought I’d give my two cents or, rather, two tips, for strengthening your PDCA cycles.
First, be aware of your personal weak areas. Many process problems stem from what I call shunted PDCA cycles. These weak cycles are usually the weakest at the “check” step. The check is either shallow or completely missing. If checking isn’t going well for you, try using visualizations for the check. Make them easy to see and understand and set the checking period based on the problem or countermeasure you are evaluating.
Foundations: Visual Management, Roles and Responsibilities and pdCa
Second, there is a general lack of foundational strength before folks implement countermeasures. By “foundational”, I mean the foundations of the Operational Excellence System: visual management, roles and responsibilities and the ubiquitous PDCA cycle. People try to implement PDCA as a tool in and of itself. Rather, it is part of an inseparable “trinity” of sorts. When pursuing PDCA cycles, strengthen them by strengthen the other foundations: visual management (seeing problems as they are occurring so we can fix them) and roles and responsibilities (adding the work of improvement to each person’s daily work).
Complete the pdCA cycle: Coach Someone and Then Check on Them
These are two short bursts for strengthening your personal PDCA cycles. Remember that teaching these two ideas to someone else – even today – will make them hold fast the next time you need to apply them.
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Comments or questions? PDCA!