What is Obeya?

Obeya is a visual lean management method coming from the Japanese word for “big room”. It is a collaborative space that gathers all-important information and is managed collectively through short and periodic meetings. Obeya is a simple and effective method to meet the challenges of performance.

This approach is usually set up to monitor and drive a project or an organisation. The aim is to make information visually accessible and understandable very quickly by the collaborators. A project brings together different areas of expertise and teams, which must work together but generally located in different places (with COVID and teleworking, this is all the more frequent) and therefore cannot necessarily see each other or communicate as much as needed. This virtual or non-virtual room allows therefore each team to report risks, progress and planning focus which are essential for the project functioning via tables and dedicated post-its. To make this method efficient, the teams must ritualise its use by means of short weekly reviews, so that the tool is fed in real time and decisions can be taken at the right time.

Why implementing this method?

Obeya first allows teams to be involved and engaged. It intensifies collaboration between team members and teams, thanks to information sharing. It is based on listening, sharing facts, transparency and joint decision-making. Solutions are collectively generated, as well as priorities.

This tool also boost agility. Indeed, information is displayed, accurate and shared by all, which allows a more effective answer to encountered difficulties. When changes or problems arise, employees quickly and collectively come up with solutions to adapt their activities and ensure their objectives are met.

How does CCS use this method?

In line with the Agile method, the CCS management decided to set up the Obeya in order to have a global view of the project’s progress, the roadmap, the possible risks and to ensure alignment between CCS actors and to take the necessary decisions.

For this purpose, a dedicated space was created in Klaxoon, so that all the teams could share this information. Every Monday morning, each team reviews its status. For this purpose, the tables used are updated every week. The tables are organised as follows:

  • One allowing the monitoring of the CCS roadmap and the general progress
  • Another with an overall view of each team, highlighting the activities in progress, the objectives for the period and the risks encountered.
  • One containing the objectives of the PI Planning, which enables us to ensure that these are being followed.
  • Finally, a last one, which allows to point out some bugs impacting strongly on the progress of the project.

It is essential that Obeya is constantly evolving in order to respond and adapt to needs and that new ideas can be developed if they are relevant.

This method therefore allows actors of CCS to have all the information they need to take the better decisions collectively. As the teams are used to digital tools and Agile mind-set, this approach is only the logical continuation to ensure effective management of teams based in different geographies.