PDCA vs. PDSA vs. OODA vs. BML vs. PSR vs. YMCA

In my little book How to Change the World I use the PDCA model to describe the fact that it is useful to have an iterative approach to change management and continuous improvement.

Some people prefer PDSA over PDCA because it “emphasizes learning over inspection”.

Some people prefer OODA over PDCA because they believe the PDCA model is about “analysis of complicated situations”, while the OODA loop suggests “sensing of complex environments”.

Some people prefer YMCA over PDCA because it supports a “healthy body, mind and spirit”. (Actually no, I just made that up.)

And then we have Build-Measure-Learn and Inspect-Adapt and Probe-Sense-Respond and all those other simple models that tell us to try things iteratively while learning from feedback.

I sometimes prefer LMAO because all models are wrong, though some are useful. And to me the useful ones are those that help me to change the world and enjoy my job at the same time.

If you care too much about the differences between PDCA vs. PDSA vs. OODA vs. BML vs. PSR vs. YMCA you have probably achieved too little to understand that the differences usually don’t matter.

As Jerry Weinberg said, “Don’t take your models too seriously.”

And that also applies to this blog post.

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  • http://profile.typepad.com/galleman Glen B. Alleman

    Jurgen,
    After hands on experience with these (ignore YMCA for the moment) on actual projects where you were accountable for the outcomes, which would you prefer to use if you came to a project where they were already in place?

  • http://profile.typepad.com/jurgenappelo Jurgen Appelo

    I’d say work with the model that people are already using, if it works for them. If there’s a problem with the model, change it by borrowing from another.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/galleman Glen B. Alleman

    Good advice.
    Have you personally used any of those models and found ways to make improvements?

  • http://profile.typepad.com/jurgenappelo Jurgen Appelo

    Both PDCA and Build-Measure-Learn have worked fine for me. Often more intuitively than explicitly. Found no need to change them.

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