Obeya room, what is it and how to visualize it?

An Obeya is a powerful visual management practice. Obeya literally means ‘large room’ in Japanese. It’s also called a ‘war room’ or ‘big room’. An Obeya is a room which is dedicated to visualize strategy, project, plans and ideas. It is a workspace for management, teams and stakeholders to collaborate and generate ideas. Once an Obeya room is et up it gives a full visual overview. Multiple information sources are specifically visualized for decision making and continuous improvement by everyone involved. This makes it a perfect addition for organizations that work agile or lean.

The 11 Obeya principles

Set up by the Obeya Association, the 11 Obeya Principles define Obeya and guide its improvement. The 11 Obeya Principles provide a common language and shared
understanding of Obeya. 

An Obeya means to work across 4 quadrants: Mindset, AlignmentWorkspace and Content.

Although every Obeya is different, following these principles will certainly lead your Obeya in the right direction. No matter the objective of your Obeya. 

Learn more about the Obeya principles here

Below a short overview of the 11 Obeya principles per quadant.


#1 People come together in the Obeya to respectfully see, learn & act on vital  information

#2 People are committed to engage in continuous improvement, resolving
obstacles along the way


#3 In the Obeya, we communicate a strong sense of purpose

#4 Purpose is recognizably tied to our organizational strategy through meaningful objectives

#5 The Obeya connects strategy to execution with visible orientation on customer experience

#6 The Obeya meetings have a rhythm in sync with the operational heartbeat of the organization


#7 The Obeya visuals provide a logical and practical information and conversation flow

#8 The Obeya reflects a good understanding of the flow of work from start to delivery

#9 The Obeya is an attractive and available area, in proximity to the workfloor


#10 In the Obeya, we use analyticsdriven-evidence to make business decisions

#11 Data owners ensure information is easy to consume, readily available, up to date, and visually attractive

Obeya methods

Although every Obeya is different and adapted to the needs of a specific organization, there are some approaches to build an Obeya which are used quite often. 

PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act). This approach organizes the Obeya room much like a process. 

Six Panels Approach. Vision, customer, product, plan, performance and improvement.

Leading with Obeya. Lead succesful strategies, deliver value, drive performance, act & respond and solve problems. 

How to visualize an Obeya room

PATboard was founded basically on the belief that physical visualization allows teams to communicate better with each other and creates more commitment. This makes PATboard products ideal to create your physical Obeya. In combination with the modular wall system from AgileWalls you can eventually create the ultimate Obeya. AgileWalls and PATboard is a powerful combination. It finally enables you to visualize everything in an optimal way, the products are high quality and reusable. So your Obeya is actually sustainable.

Click here for more information on AgileWalls and PATBoard Obeya solutions.  

Click here to browse PATboard components for your Obeya board(s). 

Obeya association

The Obeya association is a community with over 1.000 members from all around the world. They share Obeya knowledge and experiences. The mission of the Obeya Association is to create a community of Obeya professionals that help organizations set up Obeya’s that lead to sustainable and inclusive decisions.

Becoming a member of the Obeya Association gives access to a large community of Obeya professionals, a lot of practical Obeya information like videos, blogs, books and templates.

Click here to visit the website of the Obeya Association and finally learn a lot more about Obeya!

We hope you liked this blog. The goal of this blog is to familiarize you with the Obeya concept and give information and tools on how to improve or create your own Obeya. If you have any Obeya related questions, don’t hesitate to contact us soon. We love to share our knowledge.