Obeya the brain of your Agile Enterprise

Obeya the brain of your Agile Enterprise

Whitepaper Digital Business & Innovation Organizational Excellence & Transformation Sourcing Advisory

In this paper we addressed five learnings from organizations that mastered Obeya that can be used to elevate your big room.

Introducing Obeya

The strategic Obeya, Japanese for “big” or “great” room, is often described as the brain of Lean / Agile organizations. This is because an Obeya aggregates all strategically relevant data and developments in one place, which enables management teams to learn and take action together. For this purpose, an Obeya generally reflects a clear, concise and up-to-date visual of an organization’s plan do – check – act cycle. Typically, management teams make use of an Obeya on a (bi-) weekly basis to discuss organizational performance, identify opportunities and resolve possible impediments. However, it is important to note that teams of all levels and departments are encouraged to regularly have Obeya meetings to understand the big picture and relate departmental initiatives to organization strategy.

  • Where are we going? Why are we going there? How are we going to get there?
  • What are we doing to get there?
  • Are we getting there? Are we going to get there?
  • What actions should we, as management team, undertake so that we can successfully realize our strategy?

At Toyota it has become a major project-management tool, used especially in product development, to enhance effective and timely communication. Similar in concept to traditional “war rooms,” it will contain highly visual charts and graphs depicting program timing, milestones and progress to date, and countermeasures to existing timing or technical problems.

Operational teams often use methods like Scrum that help them inspect & adapt by means of visualization. Both Lean and Agile use iterative processes that allow incremental improvements in small steps.

Using iterative rhythms in your Obeya helps address challenges with similar potential effectiveness as Scrum methods, but potentially benefitting all levels of an organization.

A high performing organization is a learning organization.



Obeya the brain of your Agile Enterprise

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