Plan-Do-Study-Adjust (or Act) is a simple cyclical continuous improvement tool that we all use every day but don’t often realize it. Properly applied, PDSA helps us properly define a problem and determine a potential solution, enable the solution, and see if that solution worked. On Sunday, we are going to see a fantastic demonstration of PDSA every time Peyton Manning comes to the line during the Super Bowl. Here’s how he demonstrates it…in 25 seconds or less.
The game situation (score, time remaining, down and distance, field location) will dictate to the Broncos’ offense what play to run. The play is signaled in to Manning from the sideline and player substitutions are made (if necessary). The situation analysis leads to the plan of action for the Denver offense that they hypothesize will be effective.
Manning will make the play call in the huddle and the players will line up to run the play. Manning and his teammates are ready to execute this play.
Manning surveys the defensive look – the defensive scheme, the number of linebackers vs. secondary defenders, what defenders are in the game, who is moving and who is lined up against whom – and sends a pass catcher in motion to see how the defense adjusts. Based on this information, Manning can tell if the play his offense is currently prepared to execute will be effective. His analysis will either confirm or reject the offense’s hypothesis that the play will be effective.
Adjust or Act
If Manning still believes the play will be effective based on his analysis, he calls for the center to hike him the ball and the offense runs the play. His analysis indicated that the offense should act.
If he doesn’t think the original play called will be effective, Manning will make an adjustment by “audible”-ing out of the play call. He will relay hand signals and words to the offense that indicates a different play to run (such as changing from a running play to a passing play).
(And yes, “Omaha” means something – either as an indicator to the offense or something said to throw off the defense.)
The offensive players will move to different places on the line as necessary to execute the new play call. Manning will re-survey the defense’s adjustments to the new play call, make his own adjustments to how he will execute the play himself (since he will have the ball on the center’s hike). He calls for the center to hike the ball and the offense executes the new play.
In 25 seconds Peyton Manning applies Plan-Do-Study-Adjust to the execution of an offensive play to put the Broncos in the best position to advance the ball and score. Because he and his team have been so effective with execution, he will do that about 70 times on Super Bowl Sunday.
Some additional resources about PDSA:
PDCA and PDSA from Velaction
PDSA with Hoshin Kanri from A Lean Journey
Prefering PDSA over PDCA from Karen Martin/Lean Blog
PDSA Video from IHI at Lean Blog
PDCA and Deming Cycle at iSixSigma
Problem Solving at the Karen Martin Group blog
Developing PDSA Capabilities from Karen Martin at Lean Enterprise Institute