How Kaas Tailored Runs Daily Huddles

In the fall of 2020, Kaas Tailored hosted a series of Zoom calls unpacking our Daily Management System (DMS). Each month we focused on a different element of our DMS, starting with strategy, then discussing daily huddles, then talking about Visual Management Systems (VMS), and ending with Leader Standard Work. In this post, Jeff explains how Kaas Tailored runs their daily huddles.

At Kaas Tailored, we have various huddles that meet daily to walk through our “information factory.” There are a variety of tools to choose from to help organize daily huddles, but we use Trello and Zoom. I participate in a huddle every day at 7:30. We all call in from wherever we are in the world. When I say “we all,” I mean all the responsible parties over our entire organization. We could not have successful huddles if we left out a section of our organization. So there are 11 leaders on the call every day. 

Daily Huddle Organization  

Our Trello board is organized into 6 columns: help, share, appreciation, what we are doing today, what we are doing tomorrow, and what we are doing day-after-tomorrow.

The expectation is that each participant populates the board with card titles along with a description, their profile photo, their section’s color label, and photos, if necessary, to give clarity for the card.

The facilitator leads the meeting by starting with “help” or request cards. This time is for anyone who is blocked from creating value to request help, and it allows the team to help them get unblocked. In our system, there is a face picture next to the request, so we know who is asking for help. Next, there is a time if someone has something to share with the entire team. This information may be relevant for us to discuss end-to-end. For example, we may learn some information in our production section, but maybe it would be interesting to the integration team or the design & development team.

Then, there is time for the appreciation column. We have a standard for sharing appreciation. We actually define the content, sequence, timing, and outcome: who, what, why was this helpful, and how is it connected to our values? The purpose of this is if we say we want to give our best to our best, and that’s one of our values, then this should be a specific part of our huddle every day. We are trying to tie in our strategy piece, Best for our Best, to our daily activities so we know the truth of things.

Huddles Help us Learn Today

After appreciation, we share what we are doing today. When someone presents what they are doing today, we expect them to tell us what they actually think they will get done. A lot of the time, you will see, “I’m working on a contract,” which means next to nothing. It doesn’t tell us anything about what complete looks like. What we’re actually looking for is, “Tell us the step that you are going to do, a small bit, and what do you expect to learn from that?” This comes from our third value of Improve Every Day. If you say, “This is what I’m going to do, and this is what I expect” at the 7:30 huddle, then at the 4:30 end of the day check out, we all come back together and go through this column and ask, “Hey, did you do it? Yes or no, and what did you learn?”

At Kaas Tailored, we are trying to build end-to-end thinking for all parties who are on the call, so they can see how their activities are connected to the other parts of our business. A lot of the time, as we look back into the past, we say, “Why is it that things got stuck? Is it because the left hand didn’t even know what the right hand was doing? Or the left hand didn’t know that they were connected into the right hand?” This is our way of connecting end-to-end thinking every day. 

There is also a method for us to communicate key information to the rest of the organization. Every day, Tucker is listening through the conversation to make sure anything important to the rest of the organization gets shared with the lead huddle at 8:41, which is the huddle that is closer to the “Gemba” or, in other words, the huddle that takes place on the shop floor closer to the actual work.

Huddles Help Organize Tomorrow and Day-After-Tomorrow 

We have two other columns to help us track tomorrow and day-after-tomorrow ideas, so they don’t get lost. The tomorrow column is for ideas that “we have a date, and we know we are going to do it, but it’s not for today’s work.” The day-after-tomorrow column is for “what we may do.” We throw ideas that we don’t want to lose in the day-after-tomorrow column. We are not committed to doing these ideas, but it prevents us from losing them. An example where this was helpful was when our design and development team needed to innovate the way that we do some work for a customer of ours. They saw something that our R&D guy was working on in the day-after-tomorrow column. They were able to say, “Can you pull the day-after-tomorrow idea you have into tomorrow? Can we put a project together? And can you get those into actual production?” And the good news I can say today is that those are in production today. 

Huddles Help Build Trust 

That’s the basic format for our daily huddle. The purpose of this is to keep value creation moving. It’s all about information. You will notice that no products are flowing through here, only information. Most of the items that were in these columns would have taken weeks to get done.

The other thing we are noticing here is that because we are meeting every day, our own misinterpretations of behaviors are being minimized. Those of you who know me know I’m super direct, which can come across as being super rude. Because I am kind of rude. I don’t mean to be, I just am, and I have a saggy face, which doesn’t help. Because we are meeting every day in bit, my team is able to say, “Hey, are you mad at me? Oh, you’re not. Okay, great. Let’s move on.” This activity has really helped us accomplish the kinds of things that you would hope to do in terms of team building and connecting people together.

If you’d like to learn more about how to implement aDaily Management System within your organization, or more aboutKaizen andContinuous Improvement, consider signing up for a Kaas Tailored Waste Tour