The term PDCA abbreviating to Plan-Do-Check-Act is quite well known, and the presence of a similar acronym PDSA has raised a number of questions.

PDSA stands for Plan-Do-Study-Act. PDCA and PDSA are one and the same.

Dr.Deming who coined the PDCA cycle was under an impression that the C word conveyed a wrong meaning.

He felt that it implied inspection which is reactive, rather than analysis which is more pro-active in nature. So, he chose to replace the check with the study word, which carried a stronger meaning but didn’t reach the masses as the earlier one did.

PDCA stuck on, and has been in existence widely, although the connotation it carries is as he envisioned.

Should you use PDCA or PDSA?

Most people are not aware of the latter, so I would strongly advise you not to use PDSA in forums where people are trying to judge you.

In a training environment, I think adding PDSA would be a wonderful addition and would make late Dr.Deming happier in the grave.

PS : PDCA cycle is also known as the Shewhart cycle, named after Walter Shewhart who’s three step process gave way to Deming’s cycle.

Image copyright : The Scottish Government

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