The Reasons why a Seasoned Employee cannot Iterate the PDCA Cycle

Improvement Cycle should go on round, even on "volunteer activities", "avocational activities" or "small Projects in the Company".

== 0. Inputs and Outputs ==

1. ‘Collecting’ information, then Plan.
2. Creating / Brushing up the Product, using the information and the Plan.
3. ‘Collecting’ the evaluations of the created / Brushed up Product.
4. Modifying the Product in accordance with the Evaluations.

‘#1’ and ‘#3’ are the inputs. ‘#2’ and ‘#4’ are the outputs. It goes without saying that #1: “Collecting Information” starts again after #4 is done.

The ‘Output’ doesn’t have to be “Product Development”.
It can be “volunteer activities”, “avocational activities” or “Regular meeting”. It also can be “small Projects in the Company”, of course. In any case, any activities which continue for a long time, fit into this cycle. People call this cycle ‘PDCA’. (Plan, Do, Check, Act)

However,there are not many opportunities to see a “smooth PDCA cycle” in the real world.


== 1. Surely, ‘Collecting Information’ is Important. ==

In the fall, there are events almost every week.

(I myself sometimes hold events. So this might sound like self-criticism, but…)

It has no meaning just collecting information.

I am going off topic, but the term ‘Constipation’ refers to bowel movements that are infrequent or hard to pass (Wikipedia). If you are doing nothing but just collecting information all day and night, and not creating anything with it, you will get “Constipated”. It is bad for your health.

Also, you should better consider the quality of the Information.
I think it is useless to continue to input information such as the one made for the Masses, mundane information or something that everybody’s reading about.

I want information important for myself, chewed and well digested.


== 2. ‘Creating’ is the Hardest Part ==

In my student years I started creating Business Systems by chance. Now, I have been doing it for 15 years.

‘Why did you begin?’
‘What was your plan?’
People ask me questions like these sometimes, and my answer always is: “If you think you should and want to do it, you should do it”. If you don’t think so, you shouldn’t.

‘Is that what you really want to do?’
‘Do you enjoy creating?’
Sometimes people ask me these questions. I dare to respond that, “I want to do it and I’m doing it with a sense of mission”. And one other thing I want to say to those people, is that “What’s most important above all, is TO CREATE’.

There are so many cases where people spend a long time only discussing without making any progress, regardless of whether they are students or business people. Sometimes discussions in the meeting room also fall into this kind of patterns, and this makes me very sad.

The hardest thing for me are the kind of excuses such as “I need colleagues because I don’t have the skills”. Hey, you, you are not thinking you really want to do it in your heart. If so, you are not the right “person to create”. Even an organization that eventually became a large company that produces personal computers and electronic appliances, at the beginning, they must have started by creating a ‘light bulb socket’ by themselves, over trial and error.


== 3. Better yet, How about Beginning from “Creating”? ==

I recently often think, that the concept of PDCA is not good. It is not good because it starts with a ‘P’.

Isn’t it possible to begin without ‘Plan’ in advance?
Isn’t it possible to begin without ‘Information’ in advance?

Why don’t you scale down your Information gathering and planning, and move to ‘D’? (DCAP)

(1) Things which you are capable of doing.
(2) Things which you are one of the people capable of doing.
(3) Things which you are the only one capable of doing.

It should better be #2 than #1. Of course, case #3 is much better than #2. Whichever the case, as long as there are Machines and Materials, the rest is up to the Man.

# It might shift to case 3, while you are iterating the cycle.
# It is no good to start thinking about things like “Corporate stuff”, or “the next product”, while you are not doing anything.
# Paradoxically, you may not be able to ‘Plan’, until you come across the ‘Do’ phase.


== 4. Let’s think about ‘Why to create?’, after we die! ==

In my personal opinion, ‘Why am I creating this product?’ is a silly question.
But if we need an answer, it is ‘fate’. Or, you may say ‘Encounter’. Something similar to ‘Destiny’ you had to fulfill through your experiences and knowledge. (And you might think of it as ‘something like a child of your own’, one day.)

You will be happy, if your product is welcomed by society.
You will be happier, if you can receive compensation for your product.
You will be even happier, if you can think that your product must be spread to the society by yourself.

# The amount of goods and services on the planet is not enough at all, compared to the population of the Earth.

Nobody else but you, should invest all the resources you have, if you could strive with “a sense of mission”. Yes, once you have decided on an job (child) to love, you must never be unfaithful.

# It is also good to be “committed” to multiple things. (Whoops, it is going to get confusing…)

By the way, you should never do the ‘PPPF Cycle’.

It is a waste when you take all of your time to P (Plan), again and again (PPP), and finally you forget what you were going to do, and then begin Planning the next project. (Plan Plan Plan Forget)

If you are young enough, you should better begin with ‘D’. And keep on doing it as long as you can!
… Thoughts of my own, in the late autumn of my 40s.





About IMAMURA Genichi

CEO & Founder - Questetra, Inc. ||
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