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The Next Generation of Huddle Boards

Posted by Greg Jacobson

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Jun 22, 2016 6:30:00 AM

I remember when my family got our first VCR. I was extremely excited about the prospect of recording MacGyver so I could watch it anytime I wanted. What a concept. As far as I was concerned, the VCR was the best invention of all time.

Seems silly now. Today I have a Smart TV, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu. I can watch pretty much whatever I want, when I want, with no media at all. Heck, even TiVo is a blast from the past. Like me, you probably don’t watch television or movies the way you did in the 80’s or 90’s. Perhaps it’s time for your huddle board to evolve as well.


Everybody Gather Around

Physical huddle boards were developed to serve the important purpose of visualizing the progress of improvement projects. At specified intervals teams gather to discuss opportunities for positive change and work together to remove any impediments to improvement. Conceptually, physical huddle boards have a lot going for them. They visualize work, promote team collaboration, and place a focus on improvement. All good stuff. But the nature of physical huddle boards leaves a few questions without any good answers:

  • How do you address work that happens in more than one location?
  • Can remote workers be equally engaged?
  • How can the results of completed improvements be tracked over time?
  • Is the history of improvement work captured?
  • Can executives monitor the huddle boards for every department or team?


The Modern Alternative

In the same way that the internet has changed the way we consume entertainment, shop, and connect with friends, it is also transforming the way we work. Huddle boards are no exception. New software applications make it possible to get all the visualization and collaboration benefits without the limitations of a physical board hanging on a wall.

  • Cross-functional teams can work on improvement projects even if they are in different buildings (or countries for that matter)
  • Remote workers can be included along with their peers
  • The results of improvement can be measured over the long haul and communicated to the entire organization
  • All improvement work is captured, adding to the repository of tribal knowledge
  • Leaders can track the improvement work of all departments, report on the organization’s efforts, and recognize and reward the individuals and teams who are making the highest value contributions

The VCR went a long way to addressing my desire to watch TV and movies on-demand, but thank goodness we didn’t just figure that the problem was solved and leave it at that. Because technology progressed, I’ve gone from a hundred or so options on VHS to a virtually unlimited number of choices (without a trip to Blockbuster). Don’t let your huddle board be stuck on pause. Fast forward and enjoy the next generation.




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Topics: Spread Continuous Improvement, Improvement Process, Improvement Methodology

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