What Is the Shewhart Cycle?

by Beth Rifkin

1 min read

Also known as the Deming cycle or Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle, the Shewhart cycle is an easy-to-follow model for continuous improvement. Its four steps complete a cycle of growth while providing a starting point for the next cycle of change. The first step is the plan. At this stage, you identify processes that could benefit from tweaking and plan a more streamlined approach. Perhaps, in an effort to provide exceptional customer service, you’ve given your clients too many options. Maintaining those options is a time-consuming burden for your business. Your plan should narrow the options to the most commonly chosen ones. In the second step, you do it. Put your plan into action on a small-scale test basis. Check the results at the third step. If your customers remain happy and you see significant time savings, you’ve developed a successful plan. If your plan doesn’t work as expected, you need to revise it. Use the fourth step to act. Make your successful plan your new standard. If your plan doesn’t work out, make any necessary changes before putting it into action, or revisit your plan and begin the cycle again. Whether you want to tighten up your office procedures, introduce a new product, or develop a lean agile business strategy, you can use the Shewhart cycle to achieve your goals.

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