There is a level of customization and continuous improvement expected over the lifetime of any big room. Before adjustments are implemented, it is important to understand baseline metrics to track not only the project’s success, but also the team’s performance. Some effective Lean tools used to collect, distill and archive data include:
● Plus/delta exercise to capture successes and areas for improvement. At the close of a meeting, individuals share their thoughts about what went well and what could be improved. Respect is shown by documenting every item on a board under a plus or delta sign. While discussing the list, it is equally important to celebrate the successes as it is to review items requiring correction. This activity helps a team learn from past mistakes, yet carry optimism into the future.
● A3 to build consensus and decision-making. A3 is a solitary topic and documented on a single page — traditionally an 11.7-inch by 16.5-inch sheet — from which it gets its name. The entire multidisciplinary team in the big room works together to contribute and fill out the seven sections of the A3. The result is a quick read, one-page story documenting the problem, current state, root cause, countermeasures, target state, implementation and success measures. The A3 is not complete until the results achieve the target problem. This may require several iterations and evaluations because often the initial problem is not clearly defined.
● Pull planning to create accountability and buy-in with regard to schedule. This type of scheduling focuses on pulling milestones backward to understand and meet input and requirements needed to fulfill each deliverable. In a big-room setting, it is particularly important to integrate both the design and construction schedules into a single document because an individual milestone may involve multiple players’ input. For increased success, each task should be written as an action item with a clear deadline, then assigned to an individual to champion the assignment.