In the 1990s, Toyota and Scania developed the Pulse-room concept, or Obeya as it is called in Japan. The pulse room is a solution to the problem with weak management control when organising work as projects. This problem was highlighted by several research programs during the 1980s. The effect of an Obeya was immediate for Toyota; in some few years they were able to develop the hybrid car Prius, and new brands as Lexus and Scion. It took their competitors decades to catch up.
A pulse room is similar to a control room, where the staff controls and monitors the machines that work. Visualized information is obtained from sensors and cameras, that are used to monitor processes, identify problems, make decisions and act quickly in critical situations.
The pulse room contains information about strategic work, such as segmentation and business objectives, as well as operational work carried out in projects and short assignments. You can see goals, plans, decisions and status of each team at their pulse board. Each pulse board is updated daily at the team’s pulse meeting, which means that the overall pattern in the pulse room is constantly changing to reflect the current situation in the development business. The visualized information will direct work and attention for all personnel involved. Thus, joint efforts can be focused and critical situations handled quickly.
Today, a majority of Swedish industry uses pulse rooms and pulse meetings in some form. It gives the executive managers the ability to set the agenda for what to develop, and (more importantly) what not to develop. And the pulse room gives the managers instant control over progress and problems.
As long the company has product development in one site, the pulse room will work fine. But when product development is distributed around the globe the visualization and control become a challenge. Communication SW and HW that support video meetings are used to interact on pulse meetings across the sites. But it will be hard for the management team to actually see what is happening in all the pulse rooms. That is, until now.
Pulse Room in Your Hand
With the Parmatur App you have the Pulse room in your hand. You get weekly updates on all your running projects, regardless of where the projects are located, and compiled information about the project portfolio from all your Pulse rooms.
The projects enter reports every week into the Parmatur App. How many sub-results are approved? How many are ongoing? How many activities have been done? How many resources are working in the project? Using this data together with initial information on the projects, the App calculates finished dates and gives early warning when a project is slipping behind the schedule. You will also get an overall health check of the projects.
The App calculates KPI´s for the project portfolio, such as recourse utilization, project portfolio turnover rate and delivery precision. The KPI´s give an extra dimension to what is visually displayed in the pulse rooms.
All projects will report weekly just before the portfolio pulse meeting. The management team will have presentations of real-time data at their pulse meeting. The App will show if something is amiss. The managers are able to act on what they see, although they are not on the same continent as the projects or the pulse room, having Pulse room in your hand.