“Act” in the PDSA Process

by | Sep 28, 2022

Give yourself a pat on the back. You’re now at the final stage of the Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycle (review other steps here and here)! You’ve planned out your process, conducted your intervention, studied the results, and now it’s time to decide how to act. The APDSAct phase of the cycle helps to determine what you need to do to ensure you reach your goals. It’s time to decide if you can implement your change. 

Sometimes we get stuck on autopilot when conducting a program or intervention. We continue to do the same thing over and over, even if we do not see the desired results. This phase in the PDSA cycle allows us to take a step back and choose whether to adopt, adapt, or abandon the intervention. During this last step of the process, you will make a data-informed decision using your findings during the Study phase and your experiences during the Do phase. 

Which does your program fit? 

Adapt: You’re closer to your goal, but some changes still need to be made. In this case, you will modify the program or intervention and try again! 

Adopt: Your program worked! You saw the changes you wanted to see and reached your goals! Now it’s time to continue implementing the intervention or expand your current model. 

Abandon: You’ve finished your intervention. Unfortunately, it was tedious and ineffective. If it’s not worth continuing, then it’s time to stop the program or intervention. Adapt Adopt Abandon Graphic

If your team adopts the intervention, it’s time to standardize the implementation process and use it regularly. Or, if your team decides to adapt the intervention, go back to phase one of the cycle. Develop a new plan that might bring the results you wished to see before. If your team decided to abandon the intervention, don’t view this as a failure! Each PDSA process helps us to learn and move closer to success! 

Remember, the continuous quality improvement process is a cycle, not a linear journey. You may have to run through the cycle multiple times before achieving your results, but this helps your organization to grow and learn! 

Don’t forget to celebrate your success and learning! Tell your stakeholders about your accomplishments, take steps to sustain your success, and make long-term plans for further improvements. This step and the overall PDSA process will help your organization continue to improve the quality of services provided and impact the community. 

Ready to tackle the PDSA process and need support? Let’s chat!

Tags: Act | CQI | Cycle | PDSA | program

Related Articles

Building a Dashboard for Rural Leaders

Building a Dashboard for Rural Leaders

Carly Fiorina said: "The goal is to turn data into information, and information into insight." Lutheran Services in America is working to do precisely that!  Lutheran Services in America partnered...

read more



Data Informed Tool

Data-Informed Tools

Toolkits address the “why” of data.

Data Informed Tool

Data Dashboard Tools

It is still possible to meet your fundraising goals

Data Informed Tool

Strategic Planning Tools

We’ll work to identify the key stakeholders to inform your planning process.

Data Informed Tool

Evaluation Tools

How effective is your program? Is it working as intended?

Data Informed Tool

Fundraising Tools

With simple, practical tools, your team can diversify funding streams.

Data Informed Tool

Coalition Tools

Is your issue bigger than one organization can handle? A coalition may be the answer!