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Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Deming Cycle

Many organizations attempt Service Improvement through ‘Big bang’ implementations and by the utilization of large projects. This may be appropriate, but often small iterative step improvements to a service or process can be more efficient and less risky.
The Deming Cycle was introduced by W. Edwards Deming as a method for quality improvement. If processes are in place, they can be measured. Changes can be made to those process and the impact of the changes assessed via further measurement. This enables ongoing measurable improvement.

Over time the step improvements enable the service or process to become more mature. After each phase of Plan, Do, Check, Act, there is a period of consolidation to enable new improvements to ‘bed-in’ and to ensure that they are doing what they were intended to do.

The Deming cycle can be explained using the picture below:

The Goal of Deming cycle:

The goal is Continual Service Improvement. This relates to the services provided by the organization and also to the processes used to deliver those services. The Deming Cycle may be used to improve, for example, an online ordering service or the Service Level Management process within an organization.

Activities in the Deming Cycle

1. Plan - Planning the Improvements. Measures for success are agreed. Gap analysis is undertaken and a plan produced to close the gap through a series of step improvements.
2. Do - Implementation of Improvements. A project is instigated and conducted to implementation to close the gaps identified in the Plan phase. The project may include a number of step changes to improve a service or process.
3. Check - Monitoring, Measuring and Reviewing. The results of the implemented improvements are compared with the measures for success identified and ratified in the Plan phase.
4. Act - Improvements implemented. The improvements that have been identified are fully implemented.

The Deming Cycle can be used in order to improve any of the Service Management processes.

Prev: The 7 Step Improvement Process

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