Once a team has mapped a process, set a goal, developed measures and a data collection plan and selected changes, the next step is to test those small changes using the Plan, Do, Study, Act, or PDSA, cycle. It's a quick way to improve work processes that allows teams to rapidly test a change on a small scale. Risk taking is encouraged and failures are OK because the team learns from them.
Leaders can coach their team to:
- Think big, test small;
- Survey team members on how the change is working;
- Understand that controlled failure is OK - it's a chance for the team to learn;
- Debrief failures so they are learning experiences, not humiliations. Ask: "What did we learn? How could we have done this differently? What will we do now?"
- Celebrate success early and often.
- Plan. Plan the test or observation, including how to collect data.
- State the objective of the test;
- Make predictions about what will happen and why;
- Use a baseline – create one, if needed;
- Develop a plan to test the change (what data will be collected, who will collect it, when and where will it be collected).
- Do. Try out the test on a small scale.
- Carry out the test;
- Document problems and observations, expected and unexpected;
- Begin analysis of the data.
- Study. Set aside time to analyze the data and study the results.
- Compete the analysis of data;
- Compare the data to your predictions;
- Summarize and reflect on what was learned.
- Act. Refine the change, based on what was learned from the test.
- Determine what modifications should be made;
- Prepare a plan for the next test.
Source: Institute for Health Improvement