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10 Tips for a Successful Obeya

Visual Management Meeting

Peak Visual Management have developed, designed, and produced Visual Management boards that have made up many high performing Visual Management Centres, Obeya or War Rooms over the years.

From our background working as Engineers and Managers at Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK, as Lean consultants and working with our clients to develop and supply Visual Management Centres we have developed a strong understanding of how a successful stand-up Visual Management meeting should run.

There are some key behaviours and elements that are usually seen in a successful meeting and we thought it would be a good idea to share these in this blog. In no particular order:

1 . The person responsible for updating the board should do so before the meeting and keep updated in between meetings.

This is important as it ensures there isn’t wasted time during the meeting spent waiting whilst the responsible person updates the board. Some meetings can have large numbers of people in involved and those minutes wasted are amplified by the number of people in attendance.

2 . Prepare anything to be raised in the meeting beforehand and where possible make other relevant parties aware.

Good preparation means that it is more likely that facts and data will be discussed rather than opinions and theories improvised on the spot. People don’t like surprises and catching people off guard might cause upset or cause contention that will have a negative impact on the meeting and the mood of those involved.

3 . Respect the other meeting attendees.

Everyone at the meeting should be there to do their best and make a positive contribution. Undermining, criticising, interrupting, or making accusations will show a lack of respect that will damage the team ethos of a stand-up Visual Management meeting.

4 . Be punctual and plan to attend the whole meeting.

Arriving late or leaving the meeting early shows a lack of respect and understanding of the importance of the meeting. It can also cause interruption to the speaker and cause a distraction that can impact the quality of the discussion and any actions being agreed.

5 . No food or drink in the meeting.

It may seem trivial but everyone should be fully focussed on what is being said in the meeting. An efficient meeting should be concise in time so the urgency to grab a quick drink or eat breakfast shouldn’t be there as there is plenty of other available time during the day.

6 . Switch off phones or set to silent.

A phone ringing during a meeting is an interference it disrupts the flow of the meeting and interrupts the speaker. By and large most calls can wait for the short period of time that the meeting is taking up.

7 . Keep to the point and stick to facts.

By staying focussed on the subject matter at hand we minimise the risk of overrun of time by talking about matters not related to the point. Sticking to facts keeps the conversation constructive and professional and mitigates the chance of disagreements caused by using opinions and theories. Any discussions that are important but veer away from the subject at hand should be discussed outside of the meeting by the relevant parties.

8 . Make sure that issues are clearly defined, and actions are clear.

Issues that are added to the board should be understandable by all, such that if the whole team became unavailable for some unforeseen reason, a new team could step in, understand, and pick up the issue. The same applies for actions, they should be specific enough that someone can understand the exact next event taking place. These specific actions might form a longer chain that need to be enacted to resolve the issue.

9 . One person should speak at a time.

Everyone in a Visual Management stand-up meeting should have the opportunity to be heard. Ensuring only one person speaks at a time ensures no-one is undermined and there is less disruption to the flow and structure of the meeting.

10 . Make a note of actions to take away from the meeting.

Actions might be assigned during the course of the meeting; it is important that these are noted on the Visual Management Board by the assigned actioner so that progress can be made on the action before the next meeting so there is minimal slippage. There is no excuse to make progress against the action as the assignee will have agreed to the action at the meeting.

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