WBISCT Pty Ltd – Enterprise Architecture Consulting and Training

Obeya “War Room” a powerful Visual Management Tool.

By Alejandro Sibaja

On Toyota Management System there is one Visual Tool that helps the teams to reach the Goals and promotes generations of solutions and actions; that can be developed and implemented quickly.
obeya 7

This tool is known as Obeya (War Room); many people think, it is just one type of Obeya but there are different types on the organisations.

obeya 1

Before to describe the types, lest understand the theory behind the Obeya or “Big Room / War Room”.
The Theory behind Obeya is based on a simple idea:
Dedicate time and space to coordination and problem-solving and organisational barriers must be minimised.
The ability to maintain Proper Problem Awareness in Real-time, listen to Team Member, concerns, make discoveries, resolve problems together, collaborate, accelerate leader and team-member development and reach our full potential is critical to a Lean Organisation.
The Obeya promotes coordination, strategy and flexibility while leveraging the expertise and support of team-mates from diverse areas.

Types of Obeya:

Obeya types

Global Launch Obeya;
When developing a new vehicle, managers responsible for decision making in design, production engineering, and manufacturing gather in one place to shorten lead-time through real-time communications & simultaneous engineering.


Business Process Layout Obeya:

Centralised data collection, prioritising and action planning.

Obeya 3
Obeya Focus group:
Ø Project War Rooms
Ø A3 Problem Solving
Ø Jishuken rooms
obeya 4

Its very important to consider some points for Obeya :

  1. I strongly recommend to use just two colours, Red and Green, for status, not Yellow, Orange, Blue etc. The reason behind this is to avoid ambiguities; the status is either OK or NOT OK.
  2. Define Metrics using the SMART principles, no more than 5 metrics, due to impracticality of reviewing 100 metrics daily.
  3. Issues Boards, are mandatory, the team is prompted to solve issues immediately. Procrastination to solve the problem is not allowed.
  4. Discipline must be enforced regarding attendance to meeting, punctuality is a must and  duration must not exceed 10 min.
  5. The Flow for Obeya is CPDCA instead of normal PDCA.
There is a video of Takashi Tanaka – Lean for Knowledge Work,  where Mr. Takashi gives a great explanation about the use of Obeya.

I hope this help you with your next Project.