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When to Use the P.D.C.A. Model

When to Use the P.D.C.A. Model

When to Use the Plan Do Check Act (PDCA) Model

PDCA graphic

Definition: PDCA is a continuous improvement method, and means; Plan, Do, Check, Act.

PDCA is used immediately after a SMART Goal has been set.

What are the benefits of PDCA?

PDCA helps people systematically achieve goals by organising their efforts in a logical way:


Immediately after we set a SMART goal, we formulate detailed written plans, which describes the steps we take in order to achieve it.

Plans should be written, not merely thought or spoken about.

Written plans have many advantages:

  • They make us more specific in our use of language.
  • They are more permanent.
  • They can be more easily improved.
  • They can be more easily communicated to whomever needs to know.


Immediately after the plans are communicated, we must DO something:

We intelligently implement the plan.

Many people don't follow the plans they write.

If we are serious about our SMART goals, then we ensure that every day, we DO things that will contribute to their achievement.


Since no plans are perfect, we experience setbacks and difficulties.

We find that:

  • Parts of our plan work well.
  • Other parts do not work well.

"Check" means that we discover which parts of our plans work well, and which do NOT.


Immediately after we discover the parts of the plans, or actions, which do NOT work well, we take corrective actions.

We adapt, amend or replace our original plans with better plans.

In that way, we return to the beginning, and we repeat the PDCA cycle.

We continue to repeat PDCA until we achieve our SMART goal.

How to use PDCA to continually improve

PDCA implies "continuous improvement" in two ways:

  1. Plans are continually improved, by constant checking and adaptive actions.
  2. When we achieve our original SMART goals, we immediately set new, improved goals that take us to higher levels of achievement.

Goal Setting Training

To learn more about how to use continuous improvement, we recommend attending our Goal Setting Training Course, available as both face-to-face and online training.

About the Author: Chris Farmer


Chris Farmer is the founder of the Corporate Coach Group and has many years’ experience in training leaders and managers, in both the public and private sectors, to achieve their organisational goals, especially during tough economic times. He is also well aware of the disciplines and problems associated with running a business.

Over the years, Chris has designed and delivered thousands of training programmes and has coached and motivated many management teams, groups and individuals. His training programmes are both structured and clear, designed to help delegates organise their thinking and, wherever necessary, to improve their techniques and skills.

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Looking for Goal Setting, Communication and Conflict Training?

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