PDCA and Emergency Preparedness

Posted by in Derek Huether: The Critical Path Blog

PDCASome of you may have heard there was an earthquake and a hurricane that hit the Mid Atlantic this last week.  I see both events as perfect learning opportunities.  No, these are not learning opportunities on emergency preparedness.  Rather, let’s learn about the PDCA cycle by Dr. W. Edwards Deming.

Several years ago, my wife and I thought it would be prudent to put together an emergency preparedness kit.  We didn’t want 6 months of TVP or anything like that.  We just wanted something for events that may never happen.  So, we planned for the unexpected.  We created a kit and packed it away.  And there it sat for several years.  So, after the earthquake, my wife and I checked our preparedness “kit”.  It’s interesting to see what you put into these things when you haven’t had a recent emergency.  It’s like opening a time capsule to a naive past.

After we did our inventory, we created an actionable list of  refinements. I swear, it doesn’t matter if you’re preparing for a zombie apocalypse, an earthquake, or a hurricane.   If you try to plan too much for one particular event, you’ll find yourself with a lot of stuff you’ll never need or use.  Low and behold, a few days later, here came hurricane Irene.  Fortunately, the hurricane spared us.  And with that, tonight we had a retrospective.  You may have guessed.  We missed something.  What’s scary is you don’t get many chances to do retrospectives like this.  So, we’re hoping the new additions will not lead to wasteful spending on something we’ll never use.

If you want to get something right, you plan, you do, you check, and you act.  Then, you do it again and again.  You never stop.

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