Does PDCA equal “Plan the work, work the plan (and control that)?" – I don’t think so!

I don’t know how this came about, but a little while ago a friend of mine (whom I highly regard, both personally as well as as a project manager) came up with the notion that PDCA implies planning, having the plan executed (do), checking the results and (re)acting if they are not up to standard.

Maybe I am mistaken and that is, what Deming really means, but the way I understand his text and for example this talk by deming himself it is quite the opposite.

The way I understand it, it is an almost direct implementation of the scientific method:

  • Plan: Formulate a hypothesis and design an experiment for its verification (on a controllable scale, including the definition of an expected outcome)
  • Do: Execute the experiment (in a more or less controlled environment)
  • Check: Verify the results from the experiment with the expected outcome
  • Act: Either implement the changes from the hypothesis or don’t! – Depending on the outcome of the experiment.

Am I wrong in my interpretation?

Cheers Michael

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