Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Playing the card game - PDCA ..

Japanese have named their top quality prize after Deming, Deming Prize
Deming is one of greatest quality and process thinkers
PDCA cycle of Plan-do-check-act is a systematic and documented part of the continuous improvement cycle of any organisation. (also called Deming cycle, Shewhart Cycle)

It is an important step in the quality cycle in any organisation. It is also observed to be a great step in the lean journey of any company.
Toyota makes PDCA a part of its life, in each and every act it undertakes, be it a new design, redesigning a process, a product etc.. The whole PDCA cycle in Toyota is given in an A3 sheet so that at any point of time it is easy to trace the genesis of the improvement, how it started, what were the iterations involved, who all contributed, what were the cost savings involved at each stage. It is a living document which will undergo change in the future cycles of improvement. etc..

Having proper metrics for every process is the key !!
The PDCA concept can be best explained with the help of this game.

Card Game : 

Items : Take a pack of 52 cards.  

Value : For each symbol, A - 1, 2 to 9 and 10, King, Queen and Jack each 10 each, ie 

Players : It is ideal to have four teams of ideally three players each playing this game 

Venue : Any classroom 

Procedure : Shuffle the cards well and divide the pack into four groups. 

Task : Ask each of the team to have equal total value of the cards with it.

Each team should have a total value of cards with it to be equal to 85.  

First PDCA cycle

a. Give 4 minutes of planning time (simultaneously) to each team to chalk out a strategy to have equal total value. Let them record this strategy (PLAN)
b. As per the plan let them execute the plan (DO)
c. After their strategy is executed as per the previous step, let them check the total value of cards each team has with it. (CHECK)
d. There will be a change and now the team has to decide to redo their strategy. (ACT)

With A3 thinking, PDCA is also a great improvement and documentation tool ..
Second PDCA cycle :

Repeat the steps given earlier. PLAN for 4 minutes and DO. In the check phase, CHECK whether all teams have equal value of cards.

If not, ACT to repeat the PDCA cycle a third time and so on till all the teams have equal value of cards with it.

Throughout the game, each team should have a piece of paper (A4 sheet) on which they note down systematically for each cycle, all the cards with them, the total value, decide which cards to exchange, which cards to accept, keep record of cards exchanged and new total value in each cycle, till they reach close to the final figure of 85.

This is a game which gives you the meaning of what is PDCA cycle and tells how how to use the PDCA cycle repeatedly for continuous improvement.


Developed, played, improvised and documented at Alliance University, Bangalore, India. 2017.

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