The results triggered our curiosity even more: what drives the differences in maturity? With 7 cases, we don’t have enough data to draw robust statistical conclusions. We could however do a qualitative analysis with the coaches who performed the maturity assessments, to gain insights.
The questions we asked each of the Obeya Coaches are:
- To what degree is the score correlated to the pre-existing management culture?
- To what degree is the score a reflection of the role maturity of key roles (builder, host, sponsor)
- To what degree is the score a reflection of the Purpose (and thus focus) of the Obeya?
- To what degree is the score a reflection of the initial maturity?
- How strong is the relation between the talents of the Obeya Coach and the maturity score across the four quadrants?
Although not statistically valid, the data is suggestive in a particular direction. We cross-referenced the data with our experience and have come to several key insights.
Key insight 1: Does Obeya really change something?
Is Obeya just another ‘management gimmick’, the next new shiny toy to play with? Or does Obeya really bring change?
Our data strongly suggests that Obeya can help to break away from the pre-existing management culture. This break is not a given in any situation, yet our analysis strongly suggests that change can be created. Furthermore, the data suggests that key insight 2 and 3 play a pivotal role: in cases where there was a visible break in culture, this was always accompanied with a strong Obeya Coach and powerful key roles.
The attendants of the Obeya Summit ’23 recognized that it is possible to break away from pre-existing management culture, under conditions. Our research for coming year will cover additional success factors.
Key insight 2: The roles of the Obeya Builders/Hosts
We identified three key roles for continued Obeya maturity growth. The first two roles are well known roles in the Obeya Association framework: the Obeya Builder and the Obeya Host.
Most of the Obeya Coaches who performed the maturity scan saw a strong connection between the Obeya Host and/or Builder maturity and the maturity of the Obeya, with an average correlation of 3.8 on a scale of 1 (no correlation) to 5 (superstrong correlation).
This is a critical insight for Obeya Coaches: time invested in the key roles is time invested in the maturity of the Obeya.
Another key role is the role of the Sponsor. Our research as well as the response from the Summit attendees clearly show that having a powerful sponsor is a strong influence on Obeya success.
Key insight 3: The role of the Obeya Coach
As Obeya Coaches, our talents are unevenly spread across the 11 Obeya principles: some of us excel at visual management, others have talents in organizational alignment, etc. Do these talents influence the maturity growth of an Obeya?
Our data gives a clear answer: yes!
The talents of an Obeya Coach seem to strongly influence Obeya Maturity. As was the case with key insight 2, on average our Obeya Coaches identified the relationship between their talents and the maturity at a 3.8. So it pays to select a coach whose talents match the job to be done.
Attendees to the ’23 Summit seemed to recognize the influence of the Obeya Coach. Here too though there was no unanimity, so we will need to dive deeper into the factors that determine Coach influence.
Key insight 4: What’s the use of an Obeya maturity scan?
The Obeya Purpose is probably the most complex factor we looked into. Whether or not the Purpose drives maturity really depends on the definition of the purpose. It seems to be of influence when it is defined in relation to one of the 11 principles (e.g. to learn or improve collaboration), else it seems to play little to no role. This is something to look into in our research for the coming year.
Key Insight 5: Content & strategic execution
Content is the least mature area in all the scans performed. This triggers two questions.
The first question is why content scores low, since organizations spend a lot of time and money on reporting. Is available information insufficient, or does our view on available information change when starting with Obeya?
The second question relates to principle 5: the Obeya connects strategy to execution with visible orientation on customer experience. This principle scores equally low as the content principles. Is there a relationship between the two? This is something we want to explore in the coming year as well.
Our insight is that the readily available management information is deemed insufficient by organizations starting with Obeya. Thus Obeya is a powerful trigger to increase quality and understanding of key management information.
Key insight 6: What’s the use of an Obeya maturity scan?
We can see you raising your eyebrows while reading insight 3: how strong is the bias in the Obeya Coaches’ assessment when rating the influence of their talents on the Obeya maturity? Well, that is exactly key insight 4: what’s the use of a maturity scan?
We checked with the coaches: how did the scan help them, and which (visible) effects were there because of scanning and reporting?
One of our findings is that Obeya Coaches yearned for a tool that gave them objectivity in their view and assessment of the Obeya. And most find that the scan gave them exactly that: a more objective view. Which in turn helps with many things, from identifying critical interventions to road mapping next steps, to bringing about the urgency to invest in key roles, etc.
We found that the Obeya maturity scan and report do much more than providing the Obeya Coaches with an objective view. The assessments have given teams a sense of pride for their accomplishments. They also helped to secure continued development of the Obeya or even led to a redesign of the governance structure. In short, the assessment leads to insights, pride, urgency, action, and possibly much more!