Five benefits of using the Obeya methodology

16 January 2024 3 min. read

With the aim to effectively bridge the notorious gap between strategy and execution, a growing number of organisations are embracing the Obeya methodology. Alize Hofmeester, founder of agile transformation consultancy Twinxter, shares five reasons why Obeya is gaining popularity.

To start with, what is Obeya exactly? Obeya originates from Japan, where the term obeya literally means ‘large room’. An Obeya is a space where management and employees from different functions come together to discuss and align on strategy and operations – and everything in between.

To realise this, the walls of the Obeya space are divided into several distinct sections that represent different parts of an organisation. Notably, the Obeya makes thinks visual, adopts a holistic perspective on change, and brings a results-oriented and action-focused mindset to its participants.

Five benefits of using the Obeya methodology

So what makes the Obeya method so popular? Here are five much enjoyed benefits:

1. Clarity and alignment

Imagine stepping into a room where your organisation’s essence, its ‘why,’ is visually laid out on one wall. Its purpose, vision, mission, values, and principles are right there, providing an unwavering clarity.

This so-called ‘Strategy Wall’ showcases a comprehensive view of the strategic themes leaders aim to achieve. This immediate alignment of purpose and strategy is a fundamental strength of the Obeya. With such clarity, leaders and teams can consistently move into the same direction, working towards a shared vision.

2. Seamless coordination

The ‘Deliver Value Wall’ is the wall where insight is garnered around all the different activities and tasks that teams are working on. The wall provides a holistic overview of things that need to get done – and their dependencies.

On the wall, milestones are directly connected to the organisations’ strategy and purpose. This interconnectedness allows leaders and team members to see who is working on what and understand the interdependencies between the projects and teams. The result is a harmonious orchestra where all parts play in tune, contributing to the organisation’s overarching symphony.

3. Performance monitoring

The so-called ‘Drive Performance Wall’ is the source for real-time performance data. At a glance, Obeya participants can see whether activities are green – a sign that they on track – or if there is a red alert.

This section of the Obeya room empowers leaders to make data-driven decisions and take corrective action swiftly. Compare it with having a dashboard for an organisation’s health.

4. Customer-centric improvement

Rounding off the four walls of the big room is the ‘Improvement Wall’. This area provides an overview of the customer journey, including every touchpoint of the customer experience. It sheds light on ‘those moments that matter’ – and how the organisation tries to make these happen.

Teams can use the information from the ‘Improvement Wall’ to refine, enhance and continuously improve their customer experience.

5. Purposeful focus

By embracing the Obeya methodology, you will not only achieve alignment and clarity within your organisation, but also instil a company-wide sense of purpose and focus. It’s about channelling your efforts towards what truly matters. This focused approach saves time, conserves energy, and enhances efficiency. It enables you to achieve your goals faster, and at the same time make more of an impact.

Tailor the optimal Obeya

Finally, keep in mind that the Obeya environment is not predefined, giving you the freedom to design a setup that seamlessly fits with the objectives stipulated. Make sure to tailor the environment and walls as deemed fit. After all, every organisation is unique.

During the realisation phase, don’t forget that the success of the Obeya depends on all the people in the room, how they collaborate, the dialogues that are conducted, the decisions that are taken, and the way leadership guides the process.