Posted by: JC Gatlin | March 7, 2010

Immediately contain the problem using a Temporary Counter Measure

Last summer, a Construction Professional was facing a real dilemma. Night after night, someone would trespass onto the jobsites and rip all the copper wire from the walls in the homes under construction. This was costing the electricians considerable time and money, as they would have to come back to replace the wire and repair damage from the vandalism.

The Construction Professional knew that he’d have to initiate a PDCA with the community developer and the electrician to come up with a way to stop the theft and vandalism. But today, he’d have to do something to immediately contain the problem. He needed a “temporary counter measure” that would allow him time to work the PDCA.

A Temporary Counter Measure is “immediate containment.” This is an action that an individual closest to the problem will take to immediately control and contain a risk issue.

Temporary counter measures are very different from the regular counter measures on your PDCA. Depending on the level of risk, it may need to be put in place even before you get to the problem statement. Therefore, the temporary counter measure may have no connection to the root cause.

So wait a second, you say. Isn’t that mountain jumping? What if your temporary counter measure screws things up even worse and creates a bigger problem from acting in haste?

That’s a very real possibility. So use it wisely. But sometimes you have to put something in place to stop the bleeding, so to speak. Kind of like dialysis until the kidney transplant.  

But there are some rules to using a temporary counter measure. Number one, acknowledge that it’s a temporary action. It must have an end date, at which time the permanent counter measures from the PDCA will be put in place. And of course, there must be a PDCA in progress – you cannot have a temporary counter measure without a PDCA following. Otherwise, it is just mountain jumping.

Remember, the temporary counter measure is put in place to keep the problem from getting worse while you assemble a PDCA group to determine the root cause and implement permanent counter measures.

© March 2010 Homebuilding Partners, Inc.   twitter-logo



  1. In the words of Taiichi Ohno “You are smart enough to make excuses, so use your smarts to take action.”

  2. […] This PDCA has a lot going for it: First of all, the group implemented Immediate Containment (i.e. a Temporary Counter Measure) to bring the problem under control. The group then spent time researching the Point of Cause, and […]

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