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July 11th, 2023

When it comes to applying continuous improvement methodologies to operational improvement programs or business improvement projects generally there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’.

However, over the many years that Bourton Group has been helping to improve businesses, we have found the PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act) approach to be highly effective.  This is not to say though that success can’t be achieved with alternatives like DMAIC, Kaizen, or more recently Agile.

Regardless of your industry type, the PDCA approach is particularly effective for its simplicity, adaptability, and focus on continuous learning and improvement. We have successfully applied it in many of our operational Improvement consulting assignments, from small-scale process improvements to larger organisational transformations.

So, what is it exactly?

Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) is a four-step iterative management method used for continuous improvement and problem-solving in various fields, including business, quality management, and project management.

It offers a structured approach to continuous improvement based on a ‘learning by doing’ principle – teams will learn how to implement business improvements using the right tools for the job and gain confidence to repeat the process.

After the “Act” phase, the PDCA cycle begins again with the revised plan, continuing the iterative process of improvement. The cycle emphasises continuous improvement learning and adaptation, with each iteration building upon the previous one to drive ongoing enhancements and optimal results.

What can it be used for?

To identify and implement the best possible solution for a problem so that:

  1. The changes made are sustainable
  2. Benefits are clear and measurable
  3. Everybody affected understands and implements the solution
Tips and guidelines:

There are complimentary tools and techniques to help you at each step e.g. brainstorming, nominal group technique, Pareto, etc.


It’s important to remember that the choice of continuous improvement methodology depends on the specific needs, goals, and context of the organisation or project. Organisations may even combine elements from different approaches to create a customised improvement framework that best suits their requirements.

If you’d like to know how we can help make your business better, give us a call at 01926 633333 or email

Look at some of the great work we’ve carried out with an impressive set of clients here.

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