Start and Run a Guided PDSA (Plan-Do-Study-Act)

A PDSA cycle is the basic method of inquiry in improvement research. It’s a pragmatic scientific method for iterative testing of changes in complex systems. Each cycle (Plan-Do-Study-Act) is a mini-experiment in which observed outcomes are compared to predictions. Discrepancies between predictions and observed outcomes become a source of learning.

To run a guided PDSA, select the change idea from the Driver List or Driver Diagram on which you would like to run a PDSA. On the change idea page, select Guided PDSA. The system will guide you through the various elements for running your PDSA:

  • Plan: learning questions, predictions, data requirements, completion date, logistics, uploading artifacts, sharing PDSAs
  • Do: time-stamped data, observations, uploading artifacts
  • Study: comparing predictions to observed results
  • Act: adopt, adapt, abandon



On the PDSA summary page, edit your PDSA by selecting Edit, select PDF to download your PDSA as a PDF, or delete your PDSA by selecting Delete.


To replicate your PDSA plan for a new test, or to replicate another tester’s plan, access a list of PDSAs on the appropriate change idea page, or via the Find PDSAs page. Choose a completed Guided PDSA to copy, and select Clone and Create PDSA.


A new PDSA with the prior PDSA’s plan information will be created for your test.

Note: Depending on your NIC’s NILS instance, phase, and your network role, some items may appear differently in the menu bar.

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