Lessons from the Road: Making Oobeya Work

by Jamie Flinchbaugh on 12-07-16

It’s hard to sound more jargony (yes, I made up that word) than oobeya, but its functionality for improving communication and collaboration for teams is unparalleled. And so, after IndustryWeek’s Jill Jusko described it in Obeya: The Brain of the Lean Enterprise, that opened the door for me to cover it in my Lessons from the Road column.

In Making Oobeya Work, I try to cover some practical and hidden aspects of oobeya that are also essential to gaining the most value. Here is an excerpt answering the question “how big should my big room be?”:

How big? If oobeya is a big room, how big should it be? This isn’t the most important question but it exposes one of the most common failures. People find a conference room with enough wall space to post stuff, and then you hope no one schedules meetings there when you need it most. You shouldn’t have to go to the oobeya. If someone asks “Where is your oobeya?” the answer should already be, “You’re standing in it.”

The point is to keep the information you need to manage and solve problems close to where the work is done and to the people who need it. I would prefer you stand up partitions in the work areas to display information than just find a room with an empty wall.


Please read the rest of the column, and let me know your thoughts, or how you use oobeya.