The Toyota Way

Have you ever heard about the Toyota way or “the Toyota way 2001.” It is set of some principles and behaviors that Toyota introduces to underline the production system and managerial approach. These all principles are specially designed to ensure reliability and quality. Toyota is an excellent motor corporation that is manufacturing high-quality motors vehicles as compared to other competitors. The Toyota way explains the philosophy behind Toyota reputation due to management and business principles.

The Toyota way principles:

The Toyota way offers 14 principles categorize in four sections. The Toyota principles are the following:

  1. Management policy should base on long-term philosophy to attract buyers.
  2. Always use the right and continuous system to produce the right results and to solve the problems.

iii.    Avoid over-production and over-use of material.

  1. To Care about people and equipment and minimize the workload.
  2. Anyone in Toyota can stop the working to address the problem and ensure the quality work.
  3. Empowerment of employees for continuous improvement.

vii.    A 5S program that includes sort, Straighten, Shine, Standardize, Sustain.

viii.    Use reliable and tested technology.

  1. Employees should understand the philosophy, work, and technology.
  2. Hire those who can follow Toyota’s philosophy.
  3. Keep a good attitude with suppliers as well.

xii.    Check and balance on working

xiii.    Do not make hurry in taking decisions

xiv.    Be a learning organization, listen to critics, and improve yourself.

Toyota’s six rules:

Toyota prepares six rules for in time and effective manufacturing called “Kanban.” Kanban is a Japanese word means visual card.

  • Defected products will never pass further for the process.
  • The movement of material is made only with Kanban but not without it.
  • Just take those items, which are needed.
  • Stabilize the procedure to limit the pending requests.
  • Always mentioned that the specific item is requested.
  • The supplier should provide material that is required to prevent wastage.

— Slimane Zouggari

Ogata Heya

What is Ogata Heya?

Ogata Heya is an infrastructure of Japanese workplaces which is very different from the design of well-known Western offices. The structure of the western offices is that the space of the whole room is divided into separate cubicles and each cubicle is working in its own space while the Ogata Heya offices do not have divided rooms nor the divided cubicles; there are tables placed together without any blockage or partition. The members of the same teams can sit together and discuss the work making it efficient and even when someone is sitting far apart, there is no hassle of running from one office to another to find the person.

How does it work?

The main idea of Ogata Heya offices is to make the work efficient and to be able to collaborate. It is a trait in the Japanese Management to keep the work place abuzz and to make the staff members interact with each other to give the best results. The managers can keep an eye on the staff and get the updates from them swiftly. Even a meeting can be held right there in that very room without moving from one partition to another since it is an open space and that makes communication among the staff members much easier.

How is it different from Western Culture?

In the Western Culture, apart from the infrastructure of the workplace, the staff members insist on having privacy while working and they do not welcome noises from other staff while in the Japanese Culture the staff do not mind that. The preference and issues of both the Cultures are very different; while the Western Culture vote for privacy and less noise so that outside disturbances can be avoided while working, the Japanese Culture concentrates more on the work done while everyone sits together and get the job done in a speedy manner.

— Slimane Zouggari


Honne & Tatemae

Well, if we are talking about Honne & Tatemae then we are clearly talking about the Japanese culture and they say that these words describe the difference between the desires and true feelings of a person, the opinions and behaviour shown by that person in the community.


Now, if we see that the true feelings and the behaviour shown in public have a clear difference in accordance with the circumstances and position of that person in personal or public. He usually tries to keep the true feelings hidden and shows then only to the people who are close to him, this is called as Honne.


Now, Tatemae is something that the society expects from the person to behave in public or with the random people. Most of the people hide the true feelings and desires (Honne) and some of people show them in public as well.

People tend to lie in front of random people because they do not want to expose their real self in front of public.

Honne & Tatemae is having a chief importance in Japanese culture and according to some analysis it is considered as a cultural necessity. They think that it is of importance in order to avoid the conflicts that can occur in everyday life.

They say that the person is having two faces and they call it outside face and inside face of the person and these two faces are the main reason for the conflicts to occur.

Other people view this perspective that the person is hypocrite but the Japanese people say that this is not a negative thing and they consider it normal. They say that this is the social etiquettes of a person that he shoes them in personal life and public life.

In agile development and change management people are not able to freely express their feelings to the bosses. All the information they have is not shared by the person due to some insecurities that his idea may get rejected or he may not hurt the feelings of others.

— Slimane Zouggari


What is Ringi

Ringi is a Japanese management style which is used throughout the country. Some of the people who use Agile Software Management (IT) have started to adopt this method of managing as well. Ringi is a very immersive method of management since it basically starts at the bottom levels of a company.

Essentially a Ringi is a sheet of paper which consists of a question which needs to be answered along with it comes all the data the person could find when they initially framed the question. This paper then is passed up the chain of command and signed by all the higher ups until it reaches the top.

This method is a great tool for management since it allows all the people in the chain of command to read the question then understand it and add their points and then approve it. This method makes sure that everyone in the company from the lowest ranked employee to the head of the company reads the issue and agrees with it.

Ringi has been making waves in management styles since it is one of the very few methods that actually makes sure that every segment of the company or organization gets to read the Ringi.

Of course, writing a Ringi is no easy task making it is an art and the person who frames it initially must frame the question in the right words and then condense all the data into one single large page. In America companies who have adapted this method into their management techniques make new employees take lessons so as to frame the perfect Ringi so that the higher ups don’t have any problems reading and understanding it. At its essence, the Ringi incorporates three important features Reporting, Informing and Collaboration which allows a company to thrive.

— Slimane Zouggari


What is Srumban?

Scrumban claims to be an Agile management technology that describes hybrids particularly of Scrum as well as Kanban. It was originally designed specifically as a method to transition precisely from Scrum to Kanban.

Nowadays Scrumban is a management framework which comes up when teams use Scrum in the form of their selected way of working moreover employ the Kanban Method in the form of a lens through which they can view, understand as well as keep on improving how they work.

The history of Scrumban

As the Kanban method actually was becoming more popular, then Scrumban was formed as a way to make it simpler and easier for present Scrum teams to start exploring Lean as well as Kanban concepts.

It can be seen that the first article concerning Scrumban that employs the spelling “Scrum-ban,” explains some levels to transition particularly from Scrum to Kanban.

Scrumban is actually distinct from Scrum precisely in the way that it emphasizes some various principles as well as practices which are majorly different particularly from Scrum’s traditional foundation. Scrumban is also distinct specifically from the Kanban Method.

The principles, as well as practices that are embedded within Scrumban, claim not to be unique when it comes to the software development procedure. You should know that they may be easily applied in some different contexts, giving a common language as well as shared experience present across interrelated business functions.

It has been claimed that this, in turn, may enhance the type of organizational alignment which is an important characteristic when it comes to success.

How it works, advantages and limitations

In Scrumban, it has been said that the teamwork is organised in small iterations moreover monitored with the aid of a visual board, this is similar to Scrum as well as Kanban boards. When it comes to illustrating each stage of the work, teams that are working particularly in the same space usually employ post-it notes. A large whiteboard may also be used.

When it comes to decentralized teams, it has been claimed that visual management software like Assembla, Targetprocess, Eylean Board, Agilo for Trac or even JIRA are usually employed.

Planning meetings are held to settle what user stories actually to complete particularly in the next iteration. After this, the user stories get added to the board moreover the team completes them, with the team functioning upon as few user stories in one time as is practical (i.e., the work-in-progress, or also WIP, limit).

To allow iterations to remain short, WIP limits get used. A planning trigger tends to be set in place particularly for the team to be able to have an idea when to plan next, i.e., when WIP tends to fall under a predetermined level.

You should know that no predefined roles are present in Scrumban. The team stays with the roles that they already possess.

The advantages include:

● Quality
● The benefit of just-in-time whereby decisions, as well as facts, are present precisely when needed
● Short lead time
● Kaizen (i.e. continuous improvement)
● Limiting waste (i.e. everything which is not giving value to the customer)
● It is said to provide process improvement particularly by adding some values specifically of Scrum. This is as and when required


The disadvantages of Scrum includes:

● It needs an experienced team
● There are time expenses
● Scrum does not possess a defined end date.
● The Scrum estimation claims to be one of the toughest as well as wasteful parts

The disadvantages of Kanban includes:

● Less effective precisely in shared-resource situations
● Inflexible in demand changes along with product mix
● Variability elimination
● Production flow

— Slimane Zouggari


Have you ever thought how it’s cool to get up every morning and take up your favorite activities as soon as possible? Get up, and clearly know what to do and how to do it? To know what will happen in the end, to be sure that you will do it better than anyone else, and fervently believe that this is the meaning of your life? And in the evenings thinking that tomorrow you will wake up early and immediately take up your favorite activity! You say this cannot happen?
Residents of the northern part of the island of Okinawa (Japan) will not agree with you, because they live this way every day. They know one important secret which they call ikigai.
Ikigai is a part of the local culture. The meaning of this word can be explained as a very important reason that makes me wake up in the morning. And this is one of the most important elements of life in Okinawa, contributing to the active longevity of local residents. In Okinawa, there is no such thing as retirement.
In fact, the knowledge of his ikigai is the answer to the question of the meaning of life and daily efforts. This is the answer to the questions “what am I doing here,” “why am I living,” “what benefit do I bring,” “how can I be the most useful and in demand,” “what am I happy to do,” etc.
Ikigai is a comprehensive concept that influences a person’s entire life. And finding your ikigai is a very important step. It’s like finding yourself, your way, your meaning of life, your destiny. Okinawa residents learn this from childhood because it is part of the culture.

How to find your ikigai?
Sometimes it is very difficult if you grew up in Western culture. But you can do some steps to understand the meaning of your existence, the purpose of your life and your destiny. But it is important to understand that ikigai is a combination of a clear understanding of your place in life, your natural inclinations, and talents, meeting your immediate needs and trying to realize your dreams. These are some simple steps you can do.
1. Constantly try to define the purpose of your life. Ask yourself “why do I live,” “what is the most important goal of my life,” “what do I want to devote my life to?”
2. Questions that will help to find your ikigai:
What are you especially proud of? What do you like to do most of all? What are you reading? What are you interested in on the Internet? What do you like to talk and think about for a long time? Whom do you see yourself in your dreams?
3. Are there any famous people whose lives you really like? What is their ikigai, in your opinion?
4. If you feel that you are not doing something that is worth waking up in the morning, slow down the pace. Give up boring meetings, unnecessary contacts, and responsibilities. Try to be regularly alone.
5. Get enough sleep every day. There is nothing better than loading the brain with questions and then get enough sleep.
6. Reach out to the people who are keen on their activities and actively do their best to achieve their goals.
7. Do you have a sufficiently high level of knowledge and education to do what you really want to do? If not, immediately look for a teacher, all the necessary books, trainings, etc.
8. The business of your own should bring you a sense of growth and development, self-esteem, and dignity. You should be proud of it. If you are not, you should change something.
11. Sort yourself out. Read books on psychology, communicate with people, try to understand how they see you, what they think of you.
12. Look for something you really like. Do not be afraid to experiment. Throw it away if something went wrong. Start from scratch again and again. It is normal to seek your happiness. You do not owe anything to anyone if it does not bring you happiness and pleasure from life.
Have you already found your ikigai?

— Slimane Zouggari


Obeya (or Oobeya) is a Japanese word that means ‘big room’, ‘large room’ or ‘war room’. It is form of project management used by many companies to increase productivity. It is also an integral part of Toyota Production Systems, Volvo Group.

It is a lean manufacturing tool, in which a company sets aside a dedicated room where employees or workers can come together to discuss, deliberate and brainstorm on important issues or problems affecting them with a view to solving it. An obeya is a room where employees meet to share and manage information and make efficient decisions to move the company forward.

Obeyas are mainly created to solve a particular problem or work on a specific project. It is when they are used to solve a singular project or undertake a project that they are most effective. An obeya is mainly open to every relevant employee in an organisation.

One of the major companies that has always utilised the Obeya has been Toyota. They made it popular and used it extensively especially in the development of their products, to improve and streamline communication. Toyota is known as one of the first companies to use the Obeya that’s why it’s always associated with them. It is been utilised as an integral project-management tool.

Back in 1993, during the making and launch of it’s first Prius, Toyota put the Obeya into full practice. They carefully gathered all the essential management information for the project in one room called the Obeya. By doing this, every other information or tool that was not part of the project in any way were discarded. The team members focused exclusively on the product with the aim of bringing out the best. Obeya is one of the important elements in Toyota Production Systems.

Since every company possesses it’s own mode of operation and discipline, it’s safe to say that no two companies will employ the same Obeya. Nevertheless, no matter the type of Obeya used by an organisation, there are always similarities to look out for. Some of them are:

The presence of Computers, graphs, charts and drawings in the room to monitor the progress of the project.

Desks and tables for project members.

Any other useful resources or information needed by the team.

In the Obeya, team members can make use of the PDCA because of it’s numerous benefits. It involves :

Planning : Defining a particular problem and developing potential solutions to it.

Doing: This is the stage for implementing the proposed solution.

Checking: Evaluating the results to see whether the proposed solution is actually working or not.

Action: Here, members either return to the planning stage if the results aren’t satisfactory, or improve the solution if the results are expected.

EASY COMMUNICATION : One of the major importance of an obeya is to clamp down on the barriers that prevents employees from collaborating together. And also sharing information to make efficient decisions.

EFFICIENCY: By bringing together all the necessary information, and vital resources needed for a project together in one place, the project’s team can help save time and valuable resources.

FOCUS: Project leaders can easily focus on the issues at hand as long as the key team members are in the same room for discussion.

COLLABORATIVE EFFORTS: An obeya creates an atmosphere where employees can easily work together across disciplines to achieve a common goal.

— Slimane Zouggari


Nagara is a lean term that means balancing the cost of every action such as production and more value from clients. Ideally, you have to observe the balance of the production and it depends on the need and the availability of time. It is the process of creating flow for the elimination of waste in the production. For a lean organization, you must understand the value of the customers and focus on the thing that will continue the increasing factor. Your ultimate goal is to create the best services in the best time that do not sacrifice anything; in short, you are aiming to have zero waste.

Nagara is a Japanese terminology that has English equivalency of a term “while doing something”. It simply means that you do many things at a time with the aim not to waste anything at all.

When to use Nagara

Nagara is very effective to use when you want to do two work at the same time. Such as operating a machinery and assembling a thing at the same time. They say that using Nagara will provide efficiency and productivity to all the work that you do. It is true that you use it to do two or more work at the same time; however, it requires to have the talent and professionalism in doing while doing something.

Concrete example

You can see the concept in a daily application such as you can do works at a time. Example, when you are cleaning the dishes and cooking at the same time. When you are walking and at the same time, you are assembling a thing. That is the concept Nagara that you do every even you are not aware that you are doing it at all.


Sometimes Nagara that is a lean word means doing while doing something is not all the time applicable. Let say that you cannot attend two or more things at a time when your presence in need in one of the task assigned. Such as, you cannot do something while you are in a conference. In that case you, there is a distraction with your attention and you can end up wasting so much time and learning from nothing.


While others say that Nagara is a productive way to do a job, some firm does not really agree with the concept. They say that it is dangerous at times; because it divides, the attention of the operator in operating a machinery is not advisable to do another thing while in action. They say that it takes sometimes to master the design and do one two things at a time.

Nagara is a Japanese lean term that means doing while doing. You can observe that it is effective when the times that you want to maximize the cause of production and productivity of the worker but do not want to develop waste. You can observe Nagara in operating a machinery and at the same time, you are doing another such as assembling a thing at the same period. Even that there are some that do not really buy the concept; many are using Nagara in their operation.

— Slimane Zouggari

Kaizen Blitz

Kaizen Blitz is an improvement workshop that was crafted to produce an approach to discrete process issues in just a few days. It is a more effective way so that teams within an organization can carry out a structured and creative problem solving and process improvement in a workshop environment in just a very short period of time.

When to use it?

The Kaizen Blitz can be useful in the agile industry. It can greatly help to improve the business process and projects in just a few weeks. With it, you can get the chance to attain a high level of commitment from those who are involved. Even more important, you can also focus more on having a practical as well as implementable solutions to specific problems that you may encounter in some future time. Moreover, with the Kaizen Blitz, there will also be a high level of management commitment that will be implemented as soon as possible.

When not to use it?

Always remember that Kaizen Blitz is not a “silver bullet”. It also has its own limitations especially in terms of complex, extensive as well as cross-functional systems. In this case, there is a possibility that you will not be able to formulate a systematic, true as well as root cause within a week.

To mention a few, the following are some of the possible problems that you may encounter when the usefulness of Blitz is unlikely.

  • Lacking management support
  • Insufficient sustainability after the event
  • Interruption in implementation after the event
  • Superficial training due to lack of time which results in poor understanding of Lean principles
  • Lack of data to formulate an effective analysis of root causes
  • Insufficient buy-in for proposed changes which come from those who are not involved in the event

On the other hand, there is also a risk in the Kaizen Blitz. It highly needs more amount of time in order to learn the principles, design methodology as well as tradeoffs. As a matter of fact, the general process is not as easy as what others might think. With this, it should be done with extra carefulness.

Concrete Examples

A great example of Kaizen Blitz is in a manufacturing industry. In the workplace, the level of stress is increasing among the employees. It is due to the higher work space, long hours of work, lack of resources, doing work for absent teammates as well as the blame for quality faults.

In this case, problems that emphasized the stress can be majorly caused by the layout of the workplace as well as the insufficiency of tools and equipment. Well, the best solution to reduce the stress is the cooperation in creating the change process, the team’s organization as well as the great support from the management.

With the use of Kaizen Blitz, you can create an excellent design, analysis, as well as a re-arrangement of the specific product. It can be implemented in estimated 2 to 10 days. The good thing about the Kaizen Blitz is that it produces more affirmative results that can generate enthusiasm and satisfaction with the organization’s team.

— Slimane Zouggari

Niko-Niko Calendar

We are all familiar with a calendar because it is we used to see the date of the day. A calendar reminds us of a deadline and activities that we have to accomplish for the day, week or for the entire month. In short, it is like a guide that gives us a timeline of activities and tasks that need to be done. Today, one of the latest calendars that you can install on your wall is the Niko-niko Calendar. You can use it in the office or at home conveniently.

What is Niko-niko calendar?

Niko is a Japanese word, meaning “smile”. Once you double the word “niko-niko”, the meaning will be similar to a smiley. Generally, the calendar can be installed in your room’s wall. If you will notice the format of the calendar, it lets you everyone in the team record one’s graphic evaluation of his/her mood for the entire day. In recording the mood, you can use a colored sticker or a hand-drawn emoticon with a color code. The team can decide on the color-coding, each color represents a mood. Throughout the month, the calendar will give you a pattern or changes of mood in the team.

Why do you need the Niko-niko calendar?

The mood of a person is likely to affect his/her performance or productivity throughout the day. Tracking the mood of your members in the team is important and necessary in knowing how you are going to motivate them in giving their highest level of performance. Although tracking their mood does not give you a precise result if it will affect their performance, at least, you have basis for measuring their productivity for the day.

How will you track the mood of your team?

Using Agile projects, you can track the mood of everybody in the team in terms of lead time, bugs and a lot more. By simply tracking the metrics that they are up to for the week, you will be able to determine the problems as early as possible. Without these Agile metrics, it can be harder to improve their performance.

As soon as you get those numbers, you can immediately proceed with the analysis. Once you are done with the tracking, it can be easier for you to steer the project to what you are trying to meet. You can also lead the group to somewhere it is supposed to be for the meantime. Tracking their emotions is one way of getting feedbacks from them about their opinion on the ongoing project.

How will you create a customized Niko-niko calendar?

Simply, you only have to secure a regular calendar then install in the wall where everyone can see it. Divide the spaces equally for each day according to the number of members you have in the team. Place a pen close or near to the calendar so your members will not fail to track their emotions for the day. Create a legend about the meaning of the color code. Once you do it right, you will see the results within a week.

— Slimane Zouggari