Getting to genba

Efficiency experts refer to getting to genba (or gemba), a Japanese term for “the real place” or the place where the “real” work gets done.

lt’s the place where every movement is vital and any inefficiency or waste is a target for improvement.

In OSS, genba resides in two places – the product development and the customer implementation site. Creating OSS tools and configuring them for customers are the real place. Other activities are just support functions (but important in their own right of course).

I’m of the strong belief that everyone in an OSS organisation should spend time on both types of site for a couple of weeks every year. Every person needs to have a clear idea of how their efforts are helping the front lines and be on the lookout for ways to remove friction there.

OSS organisations tend to be so busy that they don’t have time to implement all of the little efficiency gainers that the front-liners see during their daily activities but it’s all these little gains put together that deliver the big gains.

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