Visual management is the process used by organizations to cascade goals and important information/ communication to help align efforts and make it easy to see when a problem exists.
Visual management is essential to the success of any Daily Improvement program. Visual management gives the teams and leadership the ability to see the status of their work and performance in real time. Having the capability of seeing a real-time dashboard enables the team to make the necessary changes on the fly to meet the customer’s needs best. It places them in the best position to achieve their goals. Using a department dashboard promotes a continuous improvement mindset.
Essentially, visual management and the team’s improvement board are communication tools. It is just one way that DI seeks to engage the teams in communication. Having an improvement board improves access to information such as updates, projects, recognitions, rewards, and other important information that must be shared with the team.
Aside from cascading goals and trending lead measures to monitor the team’s progress, visual management also includes using improvement boards which serve as an information hub for the team to use when participating in Daily Improvement (DI) activities.
As mentioned in the previous lesson, goal alignment and dashboards are an important part of ensuring teams are working on the right things. These visuals, whether it is charts or graphs, or even planning documents, are made available on the team’s improvement board. Having this information allows the team to detect when an issue has occurred so that appropriate actions can be taken.
As teams identify issues, they will need a mechanism for documenting, tracking, and monitoring the improvement efforts to address them. Capturing a list of the various improvement efforts being made on the team’s improvement boards, helps to bring things full circle – connecting the dots between what the team’s goals are and telling the story of what the team is doing to achieve their goals.
Within this idea management section, each column represents the status of the idea. Common column headers include blank, backlog, to do, doing, and done. Within these columns, ideas that are sorted to the top of the board are considered the highest priority. The other important aspect of the improvement board is the number of open cells in each column. For most teams, the maximum number of ideas to be acting on concurrently is limited to 3 ideas – this constraint helps to prevent teams from taking on too much change all at once.