PDCA Panic Do Crisis Argh!
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PDCA Panic Do Crisis Argh!

How many Companies do you know that genuinely use PDCA to its full effect? If it is used, it’s within problem solving with CA sometimes used to verify fixes. The majority of companies we see have full on P guys – experienced fire fighters who make careers out of lighting fires and then putting them out. They are characterised by late projects, late deliveries, daily crisis, high stress and continual rework. Why do we introduce things that don’t work, why don’t we learn from our mistakes? The answer is that we are too busy clearing up the mistakes from yesterday because we failed to plan the day before.

I recently ran a lean simulation for 350 people-32 sessions, I could not find anyone who wanted to plan or anyone who was willing to work in a team, everybody was picking up bricks and building solutions- great enthusiasm but no structure. The discipline of PDCA is fast becoming a lost art.

Good companies are developing an ability to plan so we do see PD, but all too often the CA is a token gesture. If we are to become learning organisations, the art of CA needs to be practiced. Proactive measurement systems coupled with supportive behaviours should be created to encourage organisational learning. Thinking systemically – understanding the cause and effect relationships within systems will enable silos to be broken down. PDCA should exist at all levels within the organisation from the boardroom to the tool store.

The final issue for me is that we continually try to learn from our mistakes – why not learn from our successes – why not try positive enquiry rather than negative enquiry? Why did we have a good day, why can’t we do it every day?

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