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What is Obeya and why do you need it?

Ensuring success for large scale teams

When teams scale to >250 people in size staying on top of everything becomes complex.

  • What is everyone working on?

  • Is the work to be done aligned to corporate vision and strategy?

  • Does everyone understand how they 'fit' from a value perspective and their role?

  • Are we working on things of the highest value?

  • Are we delivering value or outputs?

In my experience, an obeya is the best way to understand the answers to these questions.


At its core, "obeya" (Japanese for "big room') is a lean manufacturing tool in which a dedicated room is set aside for people to meet and make decisions about a specific topic or problem. It sounds too simple, but a dedicated obeya can have far reaching impacts in the workplace that enhance productivity, save money, increase efficiency and improve communication. The idea behind an obeya is to break down the barriers that prevent employees from collaborating and sharing information to make efficient decisions.



OBEYA Identity - We called our obeya - Basecamp and stated the 'room' was the 'map'

How it works:

  • Basecamp is a communal hub for everyone.

  • Team syncs, scrum of scrums, qtrly planning occur here

  • Monthly Board and CEO sessions are also held here

  • This is the Team's room. They update it. They own the data. It is active! Live! Up to date

  • I provide the structure, the framework, the rules for engagement and what good looks like

WALL 01 - What we said we'd do

Basecamp started by detailing company vision, strategy, metrics and mapped it to our streams

WALL 02 - What we are doing - Our roadmap

Our roadmap is organised into Value Streams and organised into qtrly planning increments

WALL 03 - What we have Done

WALL 04 - Money - Aligning outcomes to $$

Providing financial analysis and actionable insights and financial levers to pivot

WALL 05 - Our People Wall

People and Squad have 'loose' boundaries, they were FIXED in Squads/Streams to achieve qtrly outcomes, but every qtrly depending on priority they can pivot to another stream. This allows our model to FLEX depending on need.

WALL 06 - Who is working on what outcome

Everyone is a magnet on a wall, people have avatars, you can see quickly and easily what value each stream is delivering for the qtr and who is delivering it. it also helps us align cost to value and spot easily when we have team balance and flow issues

Digital or Physical Obeya Rooms - Which is better?

There are pros and cons to both. I run both as they achieve different needs.

Digital Obeya Room is based on JIRA queries in confluence and is real time 24/7 tracking. The physical room works much better for cross stream and squad alignment , consistent messaging, focus and priority and where people fit in the bigger picture. Board and CEO level love a physical obeya room over a digital one.


An obeya room has being a game-changer for us. We have grown by 300+ people in 12months. This is chaos and keeping everyone on mission and understanding the why is key for success. This would not have being possible without basecamp. It is a real live up to date room, used by all squads

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