Saturday, November 17, 2007

Deming and ITIL

The PDCA ("Plan-Do-Check-Act") Cycle is an iterative four-step problem-solving process typically used in quality control. It was made popular by Dr. W. Edwards Deming, who is considered by many to be the father of modern quality control.

Establish the objectives and processes necessary to deliver results in accordance with the specifications.

Implement the processes.

Monitor and evaluate the processes and results against objectives and Specifications and report the outcome.

Apply actions to the outcome for necessary improvement. This means reviewing all steps (Plan, Do, Check, Act) and modifying the process to improve it before its next implementation.

The fundamental principle of the scientific method and PDCA, is iteration - the idea is that once a hypothesis is confirmed (or negated), executing the cycle again will extend the knowledge further. By repeating the PDCA cycle we get closer to achieving our predefined objective with every iteration.

This iterative approach and focus on continuous improvement is the basis of IT Service Management as defined by the ITIL set of best practices.

Accordingly, the cornerstone of any successful best practice IT process improvement project are the answers to the "4 Questions."

Answering these 4 questions helps to clearly define the purpose and objectives of the project. Additionally, the questions help to provide a basis for creating a baseline and conducting a gap analysis between the current situation an the desired goal. And finally, progress can be measured more accurately because milestones and metrics are carefully considered in advance and regularly monitored throughout the project lifecycle.

No Service Management implementation or improvement project should be undertaken without first giving serious and thorough consideration to these very important questions.

Please feel free to contact me at with any further questions you may have about Deming, ITIL or any of the other topics covered in this Blog.
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