PDCA Project

Use the PDCA Project template to run a project through a PDCA cycle: Plan, Do, Check, Act. The PDCA cycle is an iterative approach to improve products, processes, and services, solve problems, and manage change.
The PDCA Project template answers the following questions.
  • Plan: What is our objective? What problem do we want to solve? What factors influence the outcome?
  • Do: What can we do (on a small scale) to see the results of our change?
  • Check: What worked? What did not work?
  • Act: How do we implement and maintain the change that worked?

Repeat the cycle to fix what did not work.


  1. In the Plan phase, complete the following forms and tools.
    1. On the Plan form, enter your project's objective and the metrics used to measure the improvement. In the PDCA Cycles table, add a row for each new cycle, then enter what you plan to change and what you expect to see as a result.
    2. On the Map the Process tool, map the current state of the process to identify process steps and key variables.
    3. On the Brainstorm Ideas tool, generate potential root causes of the problem.
    4. On the RACI (Responsibility Assignment Matrix), identify who is responsible, accountable, consulted, or informed for each activity.
    5. Move to the Do phase.
  2. In the Do phase, implement the plan on a small scale to assess the impact of your change.

    Use good experimental practices to avoid biases. Try to control important sources of variation or randomize against uncontrollable sources of variation.

    1. Gather data "before" the change.
    2. Make the proposed change on a small scale.
    3. Gather data "after" the change.
    4. Move to the Check phase.
  3. In the Check phase, review the effect of the change and validate it against your prediction.
    1. Conduct graphical and/or statistical analyses to compare the "before" and "after" data.
    2. On the Before vs. After Analysis form, document the results of your analyses.
    3. Attach your data and analyses to the roadmap as related documents. For more information about how to attach related documents, go to What is a project?.
    4. On the Check form, update the PDCA Cycles table. Record whether the change had the predicted effect. Also include observed results and what you learned from this cycle.
    5. Move to the Act phase.
  4. In the Act phase, decide on next steps depending on whether the change is an improvement or not.
    • Steps when the change is an improvement
      • Standardize and institutionalize the change.
      • Use the Solution Implementation Checklist to ensure the solution implementation is complete.
      • Use the 30-60-90 Action Plan to ensure the solution continues to deliver benefits to your organization.
    • Step when the change is not an improvement
      • Go back to the Plan phase and start a new PDCA cycle.

For more information, go to Add and complete a form.