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Applying PDCA as a Mindset

Be a planner!! (Even though it will go wrong 99% of the times…)

In my perception, there are 3 types of people:

  • the ones who plan, plan and plan but don’t do it and obviously don’t act;
  • the ones who acts before planning, which affects the result;
  • the ones who don’t even plan AT ALL (I know, as a Capricorn rising myself, I don’t understand them either).

Maybe it’s my engineering background, but the methodology PDCA is a MUST have mindset. Maybe it can even turn into a lifestyle if you do it enough.

What is PDCA?

PDCA is an acronym, which means Plan-Do-Check-Act. It is a cycle that represents a methodology for continuous improvement. It is associated with Dr W. Edwards Deming, who called it “the Shewhart cycle”, named after Walter Shewhart, known for his works in quality control. Therefore, it is a method used for quality and process improvement.

In brief:

  1. Plan is about identifying the problem, analyzing it and finding possible solutions to the problem.
  2. Do means testing the solutions you found in the problem, preferably in a small scale. It’s important to measure your findings somehow, so you have to decide upon a metric to base yourself.
  3. Check is when you review what you are doing. The idea is to identify improvements on the previous phase or fix something before you go forward. Use the data you have collected on the previous phases to compare them.
  4. Act is when you decide to implement or not your whole plan. On the one hand, if it worked on a small scale, it’s time to implement it in a wider one. On the other hand, if it didn’t work, you should go back to “Plan” and identify the problem all over again.

When to use PDCA?

Technically it can be used for:

  • Improving a process;
  • Testing and applying immediate results;
  • Strategic planning;
  • Testing hypothesis quickly;
  • Defining a project, etc.

But what I’m saying here is to use it daily to improve your projects or processes. So:

  • Improving your CV;
  • Deciding how much money you should save and for how long;
  • Deciding what career path you want to follow, etc.

The list is endless… Pretty much anything you want to test and improve personally or professionally.

Why will it go wrong?

I know what you’re thinking. You just explained all of that, but in the beginning you said that it will go wrong 99% of the time.

I meant it, but it doesn't mean we shouldn’t apply the methodology. Life rarely goes where we want it to go. I’ll explain it better.

Technically, the idea of the PDCA is continuous improvement, which means it’s a cycle and you keep going until you get it right. It is used for business and projects, but it can be used to apply quality to your life objectives as well. The thing is, life is more unpredictable than we want, so usually we plan, do check and act and it pulls the rug from under us.

But all the planning, doing, checking and acting WILL be useful on the long run. Trust me!!! Somehow, all the dots will connect. And they will connect not because of destiny or coincidence, but because you strategically used PDCA to reach your goals.

So, use PDCA to strategically follow your goals, objectives, dreams (whatever you want to call it). It might take a while, but I promise it will work! ;)




Light, fresh and free. Impressions, opinions and facts. Practical, Technological and Theoretical.

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Luisa Z Pereira

Luisa Z Pereira

Brazilian, almost engineer, middle sister, too stubborn for my own good.

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