Another PDSA: Please Don’t…


PDSA, back to the days of Dr. Deming, has stood for Plan Do Study Adjust.

A key point in the application of PDSA (and a key to A3 problem solving), is to avoid jumping to solutions.

We Plan — and this includes understanding the problem and the current state of our process or system. We don't jump right into Do.

These are hard habits to break, and this is especially true the higher up somebody is in an organization. For one, they have decades of bad habits. Secondly, they've often been promoted and rewarded for being the answer person… the one with the solutions. Getting things done and jumping to solutions have traditionally been rewarded.

So here's a new acronym for PDSA… somewhat tongue in cheek, but somewhat serious:


Please Don't jump to Solutions Again

What does your organization do to teach people about not jumping to solutions? Maybe more importantly, what do you do to coach people on this? Do you have anyone coaching your senior leaders on this so they can set a good example for others in the organization?



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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.

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