In my last post, we reflected on PDSA/PDCA and how different it becomes when thought of as a true cycle, rather than if considered in a linear fashion as it is written.
When we write the improvement cycle as linear, we start at P, which places the emphasis on the plan (noun) you intend to implement. But if P is understood to mean ‘planning’ (verb), the emphasis is on first constructing a plan. Thinking of the P in this way, it becomes clear that you must first understand the current circumstances and make an honest appraisal of what can be done, given the way your organization works.
In other words, when the cycle starts at Study, your Planning is much more likely to result in an ideal change - one that works and is workable to both address the issue at hand and be feasible given the way work is done.
However, this leads to the question how much Planning should you do?
Highly visible current events, described in the last post, nicely demonstrated that jumping into a change without enough Planning derails the effort before it ever gets off the ground, and of even greater significance, causes a big hit to credibility.