People who don’t take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year. People who do take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year.
One of the basic concepts of PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) is that you should plan your improvement work before you actually start doing it. In many cases taking baseline data, talking to experts and, of course, going to the gemba is needed for a good “plan” phase.
But unfortunately some people stop here and data is taken as if having a check sheet or an excel file is enough. It is NOT. The plan phase has to be done looking for subsequent action. In other words, get the data you need to move to action in a meaningful way with a controlled level of risk.
Two notes on this:
- “Meaningful” does not mean “be sure that you will be right”. It means “be sure that you’ll learn something”. Don’t do useless tests just because you forgot to measure a critical parameter. Sometimes you are lucky enough to prove the root cause of your problem. Hurrah! But proving some hypothesis wrong can be even more important.
- Every change has a certain level of risk. There is not such a thing as “no risk”. I’m serious. The good thing (?) is that doing nothing can be even more risky. Not being scared of trying (controlling risk, of course) is key. Creating an environment for safe testing is fundamental.
Once the Plan-Do is done, it’s time to Check and Adjust as needed!