Continuous Improvement is a method most organisations use to review processes with the aim to reduce defects and increase performance.
This methodology is broken down into 4 key area;
Plan - Establish the objectives and processes necessary to deliver results in accordance with the expected output (the target or goals).
Do - Implement the plan, execute the process, make the product.
Check - Review performance compared to expectations/targets
Act - Address/correct any defect
As Muslims, we should also adopt a similar approach when it comes to our worship and relationship with Allah.
Prophet Mohammad (SAWS) said:
"Actions are according to intentions, and everyone will get what was intended. Whoever migrates with an intention for Allah and His messenger, the migration will be for the sake of Allah and his Messenger. And whoever migrates for worldly gain or to marry a woman, then his migration will be for the sake of whatever he migrated for." Bukhari & Muslim
This hadith demonstrates that as muslims we are judged in accordance to our intentions, this is the "Plan" stage. We should always renew our intentions and ensure we set objectives or targets that will make us better muslims.
Once we have made the intention, we need to implement them. This is completed by carrying out what we have intended e.g. so if we intend to wake for Salatul Fajr, we need to ensure we set multiple alarms, sleep early, etc..
We then need to review/check, did we achieve what we intended? This is an important step, it is time to reflect or review if the target was achieved as well as the quality of this action. This stage is where you establish the root cause/s or the 'Why'
A useful tool to establising a root cause could be 'the 5 whys'
I rushed my salatul fajr (Problem)
Why? - Because i wanted to get back in to bed
Why? - Because i was really tired
Why? - Because i didn't get enough sleep
Why? - Because I went to bed late last night
Why? - Because I was watching a movie
Finally, where we have failed to achieve the intention/target or if the quality of the action was lacking, we need to review and return to plan/do stage.
The Islamic Ummah