PDSA.. Do vs. Act? LO23066

Fred Nickols (nickols@worldnet.att.net)
Sun, 31 Oct 1999 06:23:07 -0500

Replying to Heidi and Dan Chay in LO23020 --

>In Deming's PDSA (Plan, Do, Study, Act) cycle, what distinction did Deming
>intend between "Do" and "Act?"

I know I'm being picky -- and literal -- but it is very difficult to
answer the question as asked. I, for one, certainly don't know what
distinction Deming intended. However, being familiar with the cycle and
with Deming's work, I'll hazard an answer based on my understanding of the

"Do" and "Act" both involve action but the action has a different
premise. "Do" is action in relation to what we "Plan." "Act" is action
in relation to what was learned from "Study" and can consist of
corrections to what we "Do" and to what we "Plan." Thus, the cycle itself
reflects continuous improvement. Our plans get better and our actions
become more effective. Eventually, our actions produce the effects
intended. For my money, it is the "Study" or reflection step that makes
it all possible. Without that, and without subsequently modifying both our
actions and our intentions, it's just another two-step plan and act model.

Hope this helps --

Fred Nickols
The Distance Consulting Company
"Assistance at A Distance"
(609) 490-0095


Fred Nickols <nickols@worldnet.att.net>

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