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Dr Deming's pioneering work in quality management gave rise to a continuous process to achieve better quality products and services, and to improve the process that delivers them. The PDCA cycle, or "Deming Cycle" as it is often called, consists of four stages: Plan, Do, Check, Act.

Plan: Determine the root cause of the problem then plan a change or a test aimed at improvement.

Do: Carry out the change or the test, preferably in a pilot or on a small scale.

Check: Check to see if the desired result was achieved, what or if anything went wrong, and what was learned.

Act: Adopt the change if the desired result was achieved. If the result was not as desired, repeat the cycle using knowledge obtained from the previous cycle.

Although this is a continuous cycle, you need to start somewhere. As a problem solving process you would normally start at the Check stage, checking what the requirements are and reality is. The gap between reality and requirements will enable you to determine if you need to Act

To use this as a problem solving technique it does rely on there being a process already in place, which can then be modified.

A more refined version of PDCA is the 7 Step Model for problem solving.