William Edward Deming
He was an eminent scholar and teacher in American academia for more than half a century. He published hundreds of original papers, articles and books covering a wide range of interrelated subjects—from statistical variance, to systems and systems thinking, to human psychology.
He was a trusted consultant to influential business leaders, powerful corporations and governments around the world. This includes inspiring and guiding the spectacular rise of Japanese industry after World War II, and the resurgence of the American automobile industry in the late 1980s.
The impact of his revolutionary ideas has been compared to those of Copernicus, Darwin and Freud. Others have referred to him as the father of the third phase of the Industrial Revolution.
He was a visionary, whose tireless quest for the “truth” and unwavering belief in "continual improvement" led to a set of transformational theories and teachings that changed the way we think about quality, management and leadership. Throughout his career, he remained a gentleman devoted to family, supportive of colleagues and friends, and always true to his word and beliefs.
The PDCA Cycle is a systematic series of steps for gaining valuable learning and knowledge for the continual improvement of a product or process.
Also known as the Deming Wheel, or Deming Cycle, the concept and application was first introduced to Dr. Deming by his mentor, Walter Shewhart of the famous Bell Laboratories in New York.
The cycle begins with the Plan step.
This involves identifying a goal or purpose, formulating a theory, defining success metrics and putting a plan into action.
These activities are followed by the Do step, in which the components of the plan are implemented, such as making a product.
Next comes the Check step, where outcomes are monitored to test the validity of the plan for signs of progress and success, or problems and areas for improvement.
The Act step closes the cycle, integrating the learning generated by the entire process, which can be used to adjust the goal, change methods or even reformulate a theory altogether.
These four steps are repeated over and over as part of a never-ending cycle of continual improvement.