Monday, October 17, 2016

PDCA in the Trades

By Pascal Dennis

Recently, I spent several days with the great Joe Lodato and the Constrada team of homebuilding & maintenance contractors.

Joe & team have for years now helped maintain & improve our charming but somewhat old (1940’s) family home.

Things always come up - this time it was water leaks in the lower level – a notoriously tricky problem.

I was struck, once again, at Joe & team’s skill in PDCA & practical problem solving.

Joe & team took the time to define the problem clearly. They ran multiple controlled experiments, which gave them a deeper understanding of what was happening.

The boys did not jump to countermeasures.

“Putting a Band-Aid on it won’t help,” said Joe. “We have to get to the root, or in a few years, the leaks will be back even worse.”

Each experiment brought Joe and the team closer to the root cause – which was remarkable, and as usual, remote from the point of discovery.

“Holy cow,” Joe said, “you never know what you’re going to find!”

Joe and the team fixed the root cause, and added what they’d learned to their ‘Book of Knowledge’. (And their price was more than fair. In fact, I tweaked it so that Joe and his family can have dinner and a fine chianti, with our complements.)

Joe and his team are better at PDCA and practical problem solving than most executives. In fact, it’s not even close. (Executives do very little of this, no?)

How can this be?

Obliged for your thoughts. (In blogs to come, I’ll share mine too.)



  1. I believe we do not do this well at executive and senior manager level, because of one simple truth...we think we already know the answer. How many times do solve the same problem? Do we ever truly take time to experiment and gather data and reflect? No.

  2. Fine insights, Julie - thanks. Your questions are excellent, and sadly, answer themselves. Why do senior leaders think they know the answers?