A common question we receive is “what is a performance management process?”

This process is at the heart of the PDCA approach. Let me lay it out for you here.

For clarity, let me state that PDCA stands for Plan, Do, Check and Act.

Set the target

Staring with the first step, Plan, we set a target.

This is performance that you want to achieve. Setting targets is important as it let’s everyone know where they are.

Many businesses skimp in this area but then complain when they don’t get the results they want!

Carry out the task

The next step is to carry out (Do) the task that is being measured.

In a perfect world the task will be easy to measure. Either it integrates with a measurement method or its outputs are easy to count.

Many businesses make the mistake of not thinking about this. Their KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) become a nightmare to compile as a result.

Evaluate the outcome

Once you have something you can measure, the third step kicks in – Check.

At this point you need to evaluate the result and determine whether this is a good result, or not.

Comparing the result with the target is the critical task. At this point you may also consider trending the information. Or, you may wish to identify exceptions or calculate the rate of change.

Determine the next step(s)

The final step (but the start of the next process cycle) is to decide how to Act.

How do you want to act moving forward? What do you want to do more of? Less of?

Determine the actions that will improve performance and then go back to the Plan stage. Confirm your target and start the cycle again.

The performance management process isn’t difficult but it does need to managed. In essence, the PDCA process drives you to a position where you do more of what works (and less of what doesn’t).


Giles Johnston
Giles Johnston

Giles Johnston is a Chartered Engineer that spends his working life helping organisations to become more organised, more efficient and get back in control.

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