Huddle boards are a popular visual management technique that is often used in conjunction with a daily huddle meeting. Teams gather around to chat about the top priorities for the day. Daily incremental improvements are discussed and evaluated. The intent is fantastic, but there are some significant limitations when using a physical board hanging on a wall. That’s why there is a trend away from physical boards to virtual ones. Modern cloud capabilities make it easy and inexpensive for organizations of all types to gain the advantages of digitizing their huddle boards. Here is a look at some of those benefits.
1 – Virtual huddle boards are perfect for remote and traveling workers
To get any use out of a physical huddle board, you’ve got to be in the same room. These days, many organizations have remote workers or people who work together from different locations. With a virtual huddle board, it doesn’t matter where people are located. The daily huddle meeting can be a conference call, and everyone can be equally engaged and looking at the same information. Proximity is no longer required for collaboration.
2 – Leaders can access all boards
For executives and other leaders that manage more than one team, virtual huddle boards are a gift. Putting the boards in the cloud makes it easy for leaders to gain insight into the activities and engagement of every team without walking laps around the building. Dashboards put the right information in front of everyone who needs it.
3 – A record of change develops
Physical huddle boards provide a snapshot view of what is happening on the floor right now. That’s fine, but there’s a missed opportunity to create a record of past improvements. Virtual huddle boards, on the other hand, create a repository of knowledge by storing all of the documents, conversations, and additional information about each project. Your team can learn from the past to implement changes more effectively. New employees can be brought up to speed quickly by reviewing completed improvements.
4 – Cross-functional collaboration improves
Although huddle boards are typically used and managed by functional teams, often improvement requires the involvement of people from more than one department. Digital boards make collaborating with other groups more efficient. They also help spread improvement by making information about successful changes available to everyone.
5 – Goals are better aligned
It is always important to remember that daily improvement is intended to move the organization toward its overall strategic goals and objectives. It is easy, even for those who are engaged and willing, to lose sight of True North. The best virtual huddle board solutions include features that help leaders and managers cascade goals down from the top to every department, team, and individual. Daily huddle meetings include conversations about these goals and how the top priorities of the day align with the bigger picture.
6 – Workflow is actively supported
Physical huddle boards share a disadvantage with spreadsheets when used for improvement. They are both passive. Neither does anything to call team members to action. Virtual huddle boards, on the other hand, often include workflow features that remind people with email notifications and alerts when action is required. Managers get informed when deadlines are missed, or new ideas for improvement are submitted. People have a lot on their plates, so these reminders are essential to success.
7 – Success broadcasting spreads improvement
Organizations that excel at continuous improvement have a culture that supports it. Looking for ways to make processes better is part of their DNA. One thing they have in common is that they make an effort to recognize and reward people who are engaged and working hard to reach each goal. Virtual huddle boards have improvement broadcasting built-in, making recognition part of each improvement cycle. When people see that this work is valued, they happily increase their own effort.
8 – Impact can be calculated
It’s often easy to determine if an improvement has a positive impact in the short-term, but what about the long-run? Physical huddle boards don’t offer a way to calculate the total impact of each change, but virtual ones do. Understanding the results of improvement efforts is the key to continued investment and mind-share.
Not all virtual huddle board solutions are the same, so you’ll need to look for one that includes workflow, broadcasting, impact reporting, and collaboration. If you find one that supports each of these functions, you’ll be well on your way to getting more out of your daily huddles and having better control over your organization’s approach to improvement.