What is OBEYA?

Obeya translated from Japanese means ‘large room’ or ‘war room’ and refers to a form of project management used in Asian companies and it is a lean practice of visual management. This room is a place for collaboration, where you share and manage information by short and periodic meetings. This is a simple and effective way to remove all shortcomings of activities.

The Obeya allows to boost the team members collaboration, change the management style and thus to create a spirit of the team. Companies using it can enjoy a number of benefits. Those include:

  • Efficiency
  • Focus
  • Collaboration

Classic OBEYA use of projects management

The Obeya helps with monitoring and project management. Panels display information relevant to the context and the issues. Whether it is short-term schedules or actions to be taken, the Obeya serves as a management tool.

In order to achieve real benefits, the project management team should hold weekly or even daily meetings if needed and work on continuous improvements with quick solutions. They must respond to any delays or problems.

The goal is to find solutions by collaborating in order to learn how to work and act together.


The virtual OBEYA: a response to the classic limits

The classic Obeya also called physical has one major disadvantage: it is not adapted to the visual management. Indeed, it is very hard to work together for the team, when they are far from each other, and wants to share ideas via boards and panels.

Thanks to digital visual management, now it is easier to work with projects management. For this, teams need big screens, better touch screens in order to implement interactive events. It is a good way energise and streamlines the information. In addition, multi-sites meetings require internal communication.


OBEYA & team management

Obeya can be used both for engineering and commercial teams, as well as for marketing and IT. In most industries, managers use it to manage activities, assets and risks while in multi-projects teams, it facilitates the allocation of resources and skills.

In addition, the timing of meetings needs to be tailored to meet the needs. For example, the marketing department will organise monthly meetings while the sales team will make weekly meetings. Finally, in the event of a crisis, the IT team will meet every morning.

Finally, the Obeya mobilises the team on continuous improvement. Team members collaborate and follow the relevant  KPIs indicators. Depending on the results, they make decisions quickly by implementing short-term actions plans.

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