The PDCA Cycle is an iterative four-step process, designed to manage business processes for continual improvement. It is also known as the Demming circle.

PDCA Cycle: An introduction

First introduced by Walter Shewhart and then developed on by W. Edwards Deming in the 1950s, the model looks at change as a feature inbuilt in business, and an essential part for continuous improvement.

There are four stages to the PDCA cycle:

  • Stage 1: Plan
  • Stage 2: Do
  • Stage 3: Check
  • Stage 4: Act

The approach is iterative - that is, it is a cycle. Other terms of the PDCA cycle include the Deming circle, the Shewhart cycle, the control circle, or the Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycle.

It is best to use the PDCA cycle when, as defined by ASQ:

  • Starting a new improvement project.
  • Developing a new or improved design of a process, product, or service.
  • Defining a repetitive work process.
  • Planning data collection and analysis in order to verify and prioritize problems or root causes
  • Implementing any change
  • Working towards continuous improvement
What's good about it

The PDCA provides a simple and effective approach for solving problems and managing change. The model is best used for testing and improving measures on a small scale, before updating procedures and working methods.

The model provides structure to experimental learning on testing changes.

What's bad about it

The PDCA cycle can often result in quick-and-dirty tests of change. In this sense, the cycle must be used in caution.

In addition, by putting everything in a step-by-step process, there is little room for additional variables that will undeniably crop up during a project.

The cycle is often a slow process and therefore not well suited for emergencies. There is also the danger of paralysis by analysis - the project can get stuck too long at a given stage.

How to use this checklist

At the beginning of this checklist, you will be presented with a set of specialized questions given as form fields. You are required to populate each form field with your data.

The checklist is broken down into the 4 stages of the PDCA cycle:

  • Stage 1 - Plan
  • Stage 2 - Do
  • Stage 3 - Check
  • Stage 4 - Act

At the end of each stage, your supervisor/manager will review your work using Process Street's approvals feature. Other features used in this template include: 

  • Stop tasks - To ensure task order.
  • Dynamic due dates - To make sure your initiative is reviewed on time.
  • Role assignment - To delegate tasks within your team ensuring your supervisors is appropriately assigned to the review tasks.
  • Approvals - Tasks can be accepted, rejected, and rejected with comments.

Record checklist details

In this PDCA Cycle Change Management Model Process Checklist, you will be presented with the following form fields for which you are required to populate with your specific data. More information for each form field type is provided via linkage to our help pages:

Let's start by recording your business details, your details, and the details of your supervisor or manager.

This is a stop task, meaning you cannot progress in this template until the required form fields are populated.

Business details
Your details
Details of Manager/Supervisor
Checklist details

Once set, the due dates for each phase in the PDCA Cycle Change Management Model Process Checklist will be used to set a dynamic due date, notifying your manager for the needed stage approval when required.

Overview your intended changes

To begin this PDCA Cycle Change Management Model Process Checklist, take the time to give a summary overview of the changes you intend to implement and explain why you want to implement these changes.

Next, consider potential roadblocks you could encounter during the implementation of change. Summarize how you intend to remove these roadblocks.

Use the long-text form fields to detail this information

Stage 1 - Plan:

Identify the gap

During the planning phase, you think about where you are at the moment. From there, you decide where you want to be in the future. This is identifying the gap.

During this phase you should be deciding:

  1. What you want to achieve
  2. Who will be responsible for helping you achieve that
  3. Define your objectives - which involves questioning your customer needs

Use the long-text form fields below to note down this information.

Communicate aim to your team

It is important to communicate the intended changes with your team. The best way to do this is to set up a stage 1 meeting.

The aim of this meeting is to:

  1. Communicate the changes needed
  2. Communicate who is responsible
  3. Communicate your objectives
  4. Communicate how important these objectives are

Use the date form field to schedule this meeting. You can use the member's form field to assign meeting attendees.

Use the long text form field to explain why the change is needed.

Communicating your team aims is a stage that needs to be approved by your manager. The due date for this approval has been set 14 days before stage 1 - plan due date.

You cannot complete this checklist until your aims are approved by your manager.

Approval: Aims

Will be submitted for approval:
  • Communicate aim to your team
    Will be submitted

Run stage 1 meeting

It is now time to run the stage 1 meeting. Make sure you communicate the below information during this meeting. 

This is a stop task meaning you cannot progress in this template until stage 1 meeting has run.





Identify risks

You need to identify the risks that could occur in carrying out the changes planned.

In this step, you need to think about small and big risks and decide how you can cope with the consequences, or put in place new plans to mitigate them.

Use the long-text form field to summarize the risks identified.

Once you have identified the risks, you need to implement a risk management process to deal with them head-on. For this, use our Risk Management Process.

  • 1
    Implement a risk management process

Begin to track performance

It is important to begin to track performance. This is important for stage 3 of the PDCA cycle.

For this, choose your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) you intend to track. Use the long-text form field to detail these.

Create a system to document the change process

During the checking phase, you need to ensure that you have documented the change process. This is needed for the final, Act phase.

You can document your change process as a Process Street checklist, or in a centralized document.

Use the file upload or website URL form fields to add this centralized document to this checklist.

For more information on how you can document your change process as a Process Street checklist, watch the below video:

Approval: Stage 1

Will be submitted for approval:
  • Run stage 1 meeting
    Will be submitted
  • Identify risks
    Will be submitted
  • Begin to track performance
    Will be submitted

Stage 2 - Do:

Prepare to action change

During the Do stage, the change plan is implemented. Before you implement your change, make sure:

  • 1
    Your team has the correct training
  • 2
    Your team has the needed equipment

Continue to track performance

Continue to track performance


Approval: Stage 2

Will be submitted for approval:
  • Prepare to action change
    Will be submitted

Action change

It is now time to action your planned change

Continue to track performance


Stage 3 - Check:

Review performance

At this point, you have tracked performance before, during, and after the implemented changes.

You can plot performance against time for a clearer representation of how the changes implemented have impacted performance.

  • 1
    Review performance against time

You can record your performance trends in this checklist, using the file upload or website URL below.

Review your changes

During the check phase, performance is measured against the implemented plans. In this phase, you need to ask:

  • Have your plans for change been implemented as written?
  • Will you achieve your goals?

Use the long-text form fields below to document your response.

There are learnings to take regardless of the answers given to the above quess.

Approval: Stage 3

Will be submitted for approval:
  • Review performance
    Will be submitted
  • Review your changes
    Will be submitted

Stage 4 - Act:

Identify the lessons learned

During the Act stage, your performance is reviewed. On reviewing your performance, mistakes can be highlighted and learned from.

To re-cap:

Were your plans implemented as written?: {{form.Were_your_plans_implemented_as_written?}}

Will you achieve your goals?: {{form.Will_you_achieve_your_goals?}}

Regardless of whether you implemented your plans as written or not. Or whether you achieved your goals or not, there are learnings to take from either scenario. Stage 4 is about identifying those learnings for future success.

Use the long-text form fields to identify what went right, what went wrong, and areas for improvement.

Approval: 4

Will be submitted for approval:
  • Identify the lessons learned
    Will be submitted


Your new processes have now become the baseline. You can continue the PDCA cycle until your processes are efficient as they can be.


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