Workshop: Building the Boardwalk Empire: Gemba Management in Action

Workshop: Building the Boardwalk Empire: Gemba Management in Action

Previously given at

  1. Scotland Lean Agile Scotland, September 2014
  2. Greece Avega Group Höstkonferensen, October 2014
  3. United Kingdom Lean Kanban UK 2014, November 2014

Knowledge work has a fundamental problem: it is invisible. Flow of value is hidden in documents, systems and people’s heads. Improving and unblocking the flow relies on making the invisible visible to individuals and accessible to their inspection and interactions.

In this roleplaying taster workshop, you will experience

  1. The power of visual management at the workplace to enable more effective team-management dialogue.
  2. Behaviour patterns that build a learning culture to better meet team, management and organisational needs.

The workshop will go beyond simple information flow to building better behaviours to act on the information. You will engage in active coaching dialogues and take part in continuous improvement processes.

You might also pick up a few visual management nuggets that you find helpful.

This workshop runs as multiple rounds, based on a daily management visit to teams, using their boards to prompt a coaching dialogue that covers not only what the team knows but what their visual management shows (known and unknown knowns). This will cover impediments and improvements.

Attendees play managers and team members, and will develop an understanding of management and organisational needs as they visit a system of interlinked teams.

The learning approach uses the powerful Training Within Industry Job Instruction method that Toyota use with great success:

  1. Demonstrate without commentary
  2. Demonstrate and explain
  3. Learner performs without commentary
  4. Learner performs and explains
Maximum Attendees



2 hours+

If more time is available, we have numerous extended scenarios

Required Materials and Facilities
  • At least 4 x 2m width Wall Space, with space for 6 people to stand within touching distance and 3m between each space (or on different walls)
  • 3 Flip Charts and pens
  • Blue Tack (or similar)
  • Post-its, of 4 colours, including pink
  • Fine line Sharpies (or similar marker pens. Not biros) for all attendees
  • Projector not required
  • Tables – if in the room – to be in the centre, well away from walls

We will provide pre-printed team-boards and handouts.



Managers (primary) and team members



Scotland Lean Agile Scotland, September 2014

Unedited Comments

Great subject. Very actionable & concrete

Very interesting & thoughtprovoking

Great methodology.

  • Setup/explanation of end objective would have been helpful to set the scene
  • Great food for thought

Thank you!

Great Structure
Creative Commons [editable/reusable handouts]
Needs work
I didn’t know what to write on post-its or why
I felt foolish in the role play – it was too much to take on at once
Was the session about the checklists, or the visual boards?

Feedback Votes

Chart by Visualizer

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CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 Workshop: Building the Boardwalk Empire: Gemba Management in Action by Martin Burns is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.