What is an Obeya?

Obeya is a system, a concept, a philosophy, defined by a particular set of ideas (“principles”). Organizations use these 11 Obeya Principles in the pursuit of inclusive and sustainable decision making.

Obeya Room

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The Obeya Principles

11 Obeya Principles

The 11 Obeya Principles are designed to serve as a guiding star for Obeya-related matters, defining its core elements and offering a framework for continuous improvement. These principles are applicable across various methodologies and approaches and encapsulate the shared traits of successful Obeya setups.

By exploring four quadrants – Mindset, Alignment, Workspace, and Content – the principles provide a comprehensive understanding of how to approach work in an Obeya. When combined with the roles of Obeya Builders and Obeya Hosts, these principles create a solid yet flexible framework that ensures the success of any Obeya endeavor.

The Obeya Roles

To make your Obeya rock, you need people with the right skills and expertise. There are four key roles that bring an Obeya to life: Builders, who take care of the space and content; Hosts, who keep meetings running smoothly and help make smart decisions; Coaches, who teach Builders and Hosts while encouraging change; and Sensei, the Obeya gurus with lots of wisdom.

These roles are not about hierarchy, but about creating an atmosphere where ideas and knowledge can flourish. How you divide the roles is up to you, but remember that defining the roles helps everyone grow, get things done, and keep the Obeya going in the long run.

Obeya Builder


Obeya Host


Obeya Coach


Obeya Sensei


Obeya Methods

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to Obeya, but as long as you follow the 11 Obeya principles and have Builders and Hosts guiding things, you’re on the right track. Three popular methods are:

  1. PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act):
    Treats the Obeya like a process, linking activities to stages in the production cycle.
  2. Six Panels Approach:
    Carves out different spots in the Obeya for various purposes, similar to PDCA.
  3. Leading with Obeya Reference Model:
    Matches leadership responsibilities to five visual areas in the Obeya.
Plan Do Check Act

The Obeya Room

An Obeya is a workplace that helps you make smart decisions and keeps everyone informed. It’s about connecting the big picture to the details so you can see what’s going on and where you need to make adjustments. To get started with an Obeya, there is a nine-step process that can help you get things going.

Keep in mind, however, that what works for one organization may not work for another, so don’t worry if you need to tweak things a bit. The idea is to give you a helping hand without being bossy, so you can learn as you go along. No one has all the answers, but these nine steps can certainly steer your Obeya journey in the right direction.

Digital Obeya

Digital Obeya

A Digital Obeya is a great solution because it addresses misalignment and makes it easier to see what really matters. They offer numerous benefits, such as freeing up meeting space, instant access to important information, linking different software systems and setting things up quickly. Sure, there may be some challenges, but if you balance the use of convenient digital tools with keeping human connections strong, you get the best of both worlds. So focus on the positive and how digital Obeyas can improve collaboration and decision-making!

Join the Obeya Association

The Obeya Association is a community, a platform and a worldwide network. We aim to develop Obeya “from tool to philosophy”. We are Obeya practitioners; discussing, creating, sharing, testing and continuously improving Obeya practices and quality standards. We develop meaningful training materials and provide professional Obeya examination.

Become an associate

  • Largest worldwide Obeya practitioners network

  • Free access to all online Obeya events

  • Extensive Lean/Agile Obeya Document Library

Obeya Association Community

Download the free Obeya Fundamentals training module