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PDCA is a four-step methodology for problem-solving. PDCA stands for Plan Do Check Act/Adjust. It can also stand for Plan Do Study Act. This methodology can be used continually to improve processes.

Plan: Plan or outline a problem.
Do: Do or apply countermeasure to address root cause.
Check: Check or assess if the problem is fixed.
Adjust: Adjust or fine tune the fix.

PDCA is a method developed by Dr. Deming that favors trial and error over extensive planning and trying for perfection up front with the assumption the each test allows for essential fine tuning. PDCA is often paired with A3 Documentation.

For a better understanding of PDCA/PDSA and an overview of Lean Six Sigma, check out our Free Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt Training, Green Belt Training or Lean Training.

Elisabeth Swan

Elisabeth is a Managing Partner at, the co-author of The Problem-Solver’s Toolkit and co-host of the Just-in-Time Cafe. For over 25 years, she's helped leading organizations like Amazon, Charles Schwab and Starwood Hotels & Resorts build problem-solving muscles with Lean Six Sigma to achieve their goals.