In PDSA – Small Steps Better Than Large Steps, I shared the benefits of having a process of a rapid review & looking for what works to be amplified, plus muffling what’s not working.

PDCA PDSA Improvement Questions Create Learning Team Building and Leadership

Questions to ask during PDSA & PDCA small steps

Plan-Do-Study-Act PDSA is sometimes referred to Plan-Do-Check-Act PDCA; I am using them both interchangeably. The difference is in your interpretation and use of the terms. Study connotes a better focus on continuous improvement because you are studying and improving the process. Use the term that matches your culture and language … it is the use and thinking behind the tool that matters.

PDSA applies to large-scale longer-term slow cycles and small-scale shorter-term cycles. When you seek improvement on a system that is already in place, you should begin with Study. The questions below begin with Study.

Questions to ask during PDSA Cycles
A. Beginning with “study”
  • What about this system/process/product/service makes you believe you or the team can improve it?
  • How well is it currently working? What is the current condition?
Questions to ask
B. During “plan”
  • What problem are you looking to solve?
  • What does “Solved” look like? How will you know it is solved?
C. During “do” What is your plan for:

  • Testing and creating small experiments of this innovation?
  • Are they safe to fail?
  • If successful, how will you amplify the success and share the results?
  • If failure, how will you muffle what did not work and share the results?
D. During “study”
  • What are you monitoring?
  • What made you choose these indicators to monitor over others?
E. During “act”
  • What changes have you made to your original plan?
  • How can you standardize ‘what worked’ and reduce what didn’t work?
  • Is there a need to continue this improvement/innovation?
  • When can we evaluate if you achieved the desired goal?