Huddle boards are great. They serve as a powerful visual management tool and bring people together around improvement efforts. People feel good and empowered when they see their ideas for improvement progress from one stage of completion to another. Leaders get insight into the health of the organization’s improvement culture and they can measure engagement and momentum.
Huddle boards are great. But there’s one thing you can do to make them even better. It’s a bit off the wall.
No, actually, it’s totally off the wall.
I mean that literally.
For more effective huddle boards take them off of the wall and put them in the cloud. Digital huddle boards have serious advantages over their physical counterparts. Here are a few.
People Can Participate and Track Improvement from Anywhere
In many organizations, not every employee is in the office every day. Teams are frequently distributed and remote work has become commonplace. Employees who don’t happen to be in the building at the moment lose the advantages of a physical huddle board, but a digital one is available to them wherever they happen to be.
Leaders Can Keep an Eye on Many Boards
Executives and other leaders want to be able to easily track and review improvement activities across multiple teams and departments. Electronic huddle boards make that a cinch, enabling them to keep tabs on as many boards as necessary without the need to wander the building.
Digital Boards Are Active
Physical huddle boards just hang out waiting for a person to act. Software hosted huddle boards, on the other hand, have useful proactive capabilities. They can send notifications when activities occur, and alerts when due dates are missed or progress becomes stalled. This helps keep people engaged and ensures that everyone has the information they need when they need it.
The Record is Preserved
Paper huddle boards do an excellent job of giving a snapshot representation of the current state of improvement, but what about the past and the future? Improvement work is much easier when you have a record of what has been tried in the past and when you can see the progress of projects over time. It is also important to track the impact of improvements well after they are complete and removed from the current board. Huddle board software lets you create a complete record in a way that would be impractical on paper.
Silos are Broken
For continuous improvement to be the most impactful across the organization, it needs to spread to every department, team and person. This is much easier if everyone has visibility into the improvement work going on in all functional areas. The sales team might not spend much time in the part of the building where the product managers sit, for example, but with digital huddle boards, they don’t need to. They can see what’s going on and even participate in cross-functional teams from anywhere.
Although you might not think about your huddle board as a business system, that’s essentially what it is. And just like your CRM, ERP, and other productivity tools, the modern approach is to move it to the cloud. Why wouldn't you want to take advantage of today’s technology to get even more out of your improvement efforts? It’s not really an off the wall idea after all. (Wait. Yes, it is.)