Huddle boards are a popular way to gather teams together on a daily basis to talk about improvement. Typically, the boards contain slips of paper or post-it notes that represent each idea for improvement. Often they are set up to show the progression of an improvement from an idea for consideration to a completed change. We congratulate every organization that has a structured approach to improvement. But when it comes to huddle boards, there is a better way.
Taking the huddle board off of the wall and putting it into “the cloud,” AKA an online web-based application, has a number of important advantages.
You Don’t Need to Be Present to Win
Gathering everyone in one spot for a daily improvement chat works well for some organizations, but many are more distributed with people working from different locations or home offices. Digital huddle boards are available to everyone, no matter where they happen to be. This makes it much easier for everyone to stay engaged in improvement efforts even if they aren’t in the office every day. Some organizations have their teams at each location gather around their boards and get on a conference call for the huddle so that they're meeting in person with their local teams, but are connected with their counterparts around the organization as well. With the digital board, they're all looking at the same screen, and can drill down into the details of any improvement as needed.
Executives Get Broad Insight
It is essential that executive leadership understand the health of the improvement culture across the entire organization. With digital huddle boards, leaders can easily keep tabs on many teams without the need to wander from board to board. It's easy for them to see activity, engagement, and impact metrics, and to identify areas that need more coaching or deserve recognition.
Alerts and Smart Notifications Encourage Engagement
The number one drawback of physical huddle boards is that they are passive. They provide a snapshot of improvement activities, but don’t do anything to keep people engaged to move their improvements to the next stage. Digital huddle boards provide alerts and smart notifications that remind people to take action and warn managers when progress is stalled.
Knowledge is Preserved
As I mentioned, a physical huddle board is a snapshot of the current state. It does nothing to show what has happened in the past. The digital alternative, on the other hand, creates a repository of knowledge about past improvement ideas and progress that can be searched by simple keywords or detailed filters. Lessons can be learned from past projects and best practices easily emerge.
Physical huddle boards are silos of improvement that connect a local team. They do nothing to spread great ideas from one area or department to another. Digital boards make it easy for people to see what improvements other teams are trying. Ideas that work well for one group can be implemented by others.
Strategic Alignment is Achieved
Organizations don’t implement improvement programs just for the heck of it. They do so in order to meet the key objectives of the company. Digital huddle boards can be deployed within a structured improvement solution that embeds alignment with the corporate strategy. Every project can be evaluated based on how well it aligns with the most important strategic goals.
The idea behind the huddle board is sound. It makes perfect sense to keep tabs on every idea for improvement and to focus the team on making positive change happen. When they are online, they are an even more powerful improvement technique.