In the 1950s, Edwards Deming proposed that business processes should be analyzed and measured to identify sources of variations that cause products to deviate from customer requirements. He recommended that business processes be placed in a continuous feedback loop so that managers can identify and change the parts of the process that need improvements. As a teacher, Deming created a diagram to illustrate this continuous process, commonly known as the PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act) cycle:
- PLAN: Design or revise business process components to improve results
- DO: Implement the plan and measure its performance
- CHECK: Assess the measurements against established goals and report the results to decision makers
- ACT: Decide on changes needed to improve the process
This cycle has been widely adopted to analyze many different aspects of an organization's performance and is the conceptual basis for the ISO 14000 (and many other) standards for Environmental Management Systems.
- Description of the PCDA Cycle (The Balanced Scorecard Institute)