Explanation: When does the Plan-Do-Check-Adjust cycle occur in Scrum?

This article focuses on the question of when does the Plan-Do-Check-Adjust cycle occur in Scrum and why it matters in the software development routine.


In the fast-paced realm of Agile project management, continuous improvement stands as a vital pillar for success. Scrum, a widely adopted framework renowned for its iterative nature, empowers teams to deliver exceptional products. However, to unlock their full potential, Scrum teams often incorporate complementary methodologies into their practices. Among these methodologies is the Plan-Do-Check-Adjust (PDCA) cycle, a potent tool for continuous improvement. 

While not explicitly prescribed in Scrum, the PDCA cycle seamlessly aligns with its empirical principles, enabling teams to fine-tune their processes, optimize performance, and consistently enhance deliverables. In this blog post, we delve into the significance of integrating the PDCA cycle within Scrum, exploring its practical applications and the manifold benefits it brings to Agile teams. Let us talk about the topic of "when does the plan-do-check-adjust cycle occur in Scrum" and what are its implications.

What is PDCA Cycle?

Also known as the Deming Cycle or the Shewhart Cycle is a model for implementing change, briefly explained. It is a crucial component of the Lean manufacturing concept and a necessary condition for ongoing advancements in both people and procedures.

The PDCA cycle was initially put forth by Walter Shewhart and later developed by William Deming. It has now become a widely used paradigm for ongoing improvements in management, manufacturing, and other fields. Teams can prevent repeating errors and enhance processes with the straightforward four-stage PDCA approach.

When does the plan-do-check-adjust cycle occur in Scrum?

In Scrum, the Plan-Do-Check-Adjust (PDCA) cycle is a continuous improvement framework that helps teams to iterate and enhance their processes. While the PDCA cycle is not explicitly defined in Scrum, it aligns with the empirical nature of the framework and is often applied by Scrum teams to refine their practices in between the iteration review

in the daily Scrum, at all formal Scrum events and as part of the iteration retrospective. Here's how it relates to Scrum:

Plan: During the Planning phase, the team identifies the goals and objectives for the upcoming Sprint. This includes defining the Sprint goal, selecting the backlog items to be worked on, and creating a plan for accomplishing the work.
Do: In the Do phase, the team executes the plan by developing and delivering the product increment. They collaborate, build, and test the features identified in the Sprint backlog.
Check: Once the work is completed and the Sprint ends, the team enters the Check phase. Here, they review and evaluate the increment against the Sprint goal, the Definition of Done, and any other relevant criteria. This includes conducting a Sprint Review where stakeholders provide feedback and inspect the increment.
Adjust: Based on the feedback and inspection results obtained in the Check phase, the team moves to the Adjust phase. They reflect on their performance, identify areas for improvement, and determine appropriate adjustments to be made. This could involve adapting their processes, refining the product backlog, updating team practices, or modifying their approach for the next Sprint.


The PDCA cycle in Scrum emphasizes the continuous improvement mindset, allowing teams to learn from their experiences, make necessary adjustments, and incrementally enhance their performance over time. By embracing this iterative approach, Scrum teams can optimize their processes, increase productivity, and deliver higher-quality products.

Direct Implications of PDCA:

The PDCA methodology is frequently employed to solve issues and develop high-quality process improvements. By implementing this model, organizations hope to improve both their internal and external processes by removing any problems that may arise while carrying out the work. 

This model's cyclical structure enables teams to spot and fix problems early on and keep going until the intended result is achieved. As a result, efficiency is improved, and ineffective components are removed to find the best solution. 

Organizations can use the PDCA model to gather pertinent information before deciding whether to move forward with a plan or make modifications because of its continuous approach. This data-driven strategy offers a solid foundation for businesses to continuously improve their people, processes, products, and services. 

Summing Up:

when does the plan-do-check-adjust cycle occur in Scrum? The PDCA cycle, although not explicitly mentioned in Scrum, is widely utilized by Scrum teams for continuous improvement. It aligns with the iterative nature of Scrum and involves planning, executing, checking, and adjusting. By applying the PDCA cycle, teams can consistently enhance their processes, performance, and product delivery.

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