Also referred to as the “Oobeya”, Obeya comes from the Japanese term meaning “big room,” also nicknamed a “war room.” An Obeya is a Lean project management strategy that utilizes physical and visual space and aims to ensure projects are seen through completion.
An Obeya room will be set up with the walls plastered with posters, whiteboards, graphs, and all other relevant information displayed in a clear and logical manner. Managers, leaders, and all others can meet in a physical location to generate ideas, ask questions and debate, and while surrounded by carefully selected information. The Obeya helps to break down barriers, walls, and silos between departments, streamlining the decision-making process.
This process management tool fuels creativity and collaboration between decision-makers on all levels while developing problem-solving skills, and can also be used in manufacturing as it is intended to shorten the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle. A permanent Obeya room can be a central location where plant or facility managers meet regularly, even a few times a day, to review the production process and its successes and shortcomings.