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Deming Circle

Deming Circle

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Quick Overview

Model to measure and evaluatue business processes in a permanent manner to meet the requirements of the customer: The model describes four phases: Plan, Do, Check, Act

Related models: DMAICLEANDeming CircleDecision MakingKnowledge DefinitionKnowledge Value ChainKnowledge ConversionLearn and Remember;


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Deming Circle



In the 1950s W. Edwards Deming stated that managers should permanently measure their business processes and evaluate these against the set client requirements. He also stated that in case of deviations, managers had to plan and introduce improvements. This simple, yet effective model is referred to as the PDCA cycle: Plan, Do, Check, Act.

Related models: DMAICLEANDeming CircleDecision MakingKnowledge DefinitionKnowledge Value ChainKnowledge ConversionLearn and Remember;


The model

The model has four steps:

      PLAN: improve the results of the business process by (re)designing or optimising the process;

      DO: implement the improved process and measure the results of the adjusted business process;

      CHECK: evaluate the measuring results and submit the outcome to the manager, who is responsible for the process;

      ACT: decide on whether the business process requires supplementary changes. If it does, proceed with step 1 “PLAN”.


How to use it

First of all, using this model will help you gain insight into the effectiveness of this business process: do clients get what they want? The question “What does the client want?” will need to be translated into measurable units. Ask clients about the right units that will make them satisfied. Examples: the product delivery time is no more than five days; otherwise the observed error will be properly solved within three days.

Another advantage of the model is that staff and managers at the organisation will continue to actively measure, analyse and improve the business process. This focus will create a sense of involvement and make the work useful. Organisations and departments using this approach and mode of thought are guaranteed a pro-active culture. The latter will contribute to staff and client satisfaction, but also improve the organisation’s profitability and right of existence. 

It is important not to have too many data, only the right data representing clients’ requirements and also some data on the process development and/or the right process input.

An easy argument against using this model is the fact that it involves extra work and/or that implementing this model or continued implementation is quite a challenge (measurability of client requirements, gaining the right data, quality of the staff, etc.) Surely it is not easy, and yet – given our experiences – it is perfectly possible. The effect is large and positive, both internally inside the organisation and externally for clients or suppliers.

One frequently asked question is this: “Which business process should we begin with?” Proceed on the client side or the processes, from which the client benefits directly. Or start with the business processes that are running poorly. Alternatively you may start with the business processes that require several departments working together (more intensively): the interfaces between departments are usually a point of interest.


Good luck with your planning!

Related models: 


-   LEAN

-   Deming Circle

-   Decision Making

-   Knowledge Definition

-   Knowledge Value Chain

-   Knowledge Conversion

-   Learn and Remember;





The product

- Cartoon, full color, 8000-6000 pixels

- Description, full color, PDF.