Here is the list of commonly used methodologies or approaches for continual improvement.

  1. PDCA or PDSA cycle was developed by quality guru Walter Shewhart and was later, made famous by Dr. Deming and Dr. Juran. PDCA stands for Plan, Do, Check and Act. And PDSA stands for Plan, Do, Study and Act. You plan first, then you do that activity, and once you do that activity, then you either you can say check or you can say study and then based on that you act.
  2. A3 Methodology or A3 report. A3 is the size of the paper, which is twice the size of A4 paper. The improvement project is visually shown on a single A3 sheet.
  3. DMAIC approach. DMAIC is Defined, Measure, Analyse, Improve and Control. You first define the problem, then you measure the current status to establish the baseline, you analyze the facts, based on these facts you improve the process. Once you have improved the process you control to ensure that the process remains at the improved state. Six Sigma uses the DMAIC approach of improvement.
  4. 8D methodology. This is again similar to PDCA cycle but this has eight steps and this is quite widely used in automobile industry.
  5. Kaizen approach. Kaizen means small improvement. Rather than taking a big step Kaizen emphasizes on taking small but continual steps.