How Orange uses Klaxoon for project management and continuous improvement
Problem solving is part and parcel of project management and dynamic continuous improvement. If you know how to solve problems early on, and in the best way possible, you dramatically increase your projects’ chances of success.
There are many techniques to solve problems. The Kaizen method enjoys a reputation as one of the best.
It’s also one of the preferred techniques used by Louise and Erell, two project leaders at Orange. Thanks to Klaxoon Board, they have significantly increased utilization of the Kaizen method by Orange teams.
Using the Kaizen and the 5 Whys methods to solve problems
Louise and Erell work in the Continuous Improvement and Innovation Unit at Orange Group.
This brings them into contact with many employees throughout the company. It’s their job to train them up in new project management techniques through training sessions and workshops that focus on concepts like 6 sigma techniques, Lean, design thinking as well as new problem solving approaches.
One of their favorite methods is the so-called ‘5 whys’. It involves a simple principle: when a problem arises, you start looking for its root cause by asking yourself “why” five times in five different ways. It’s part of the tried and tested Kaizen method. It helps you find viable, long-term solutions.
Louise and Erell work with transversal teams that typically report to several centers in Orange.
“We were introducing the 5 whys problem-solving method to our colleagues in workshops. Klaxoon helped us better our workshops. It proved its worth especially during the lockdowns.”
The regular in-person meetings organized by Louise and Erell faced a crisis in March 2020, when employees were ordered in large numbers to start working from home.
How were they going to continue with their project management and root problem-solving meetings while at the same time keeping them effective?
Problem solvers that they are, they found the answer in Klaxoon tools. They chose to introduce Klaxoon to all of Orange’s agencies. Throughout France, Orange teams adopted and started customizing Klaxoon solutions to their needs!
Using Klaxoon Board to hold both inhouse and remote problem-solving workshops
To adjust their problem-solving workshops to remote project management, Louise and Erell opted for Klaxoon, in particular its Board.
Louise and Erell tailored Klaxoon Board to their workshops
Klaxoon Board is basically an endless online whiteboard on which Louise and Erell built – in a very simple, easy way – a series of customized boxes that meet their needs.
They typically invite 6 to 8 participants to each of their brainstorming 5 whys workshops. Participants log on to the Board in a click, on each’s preferred instrument (touch pad, PC, smartphone, etc.). At their arrival on the Board, they are greeted by a single idea or question, the main problem to be solved during the meeting, as defined by Louise and Erell prior to the meeting.
Once all participants are connected, Louise and Erell discuss the problem to be solved, asking participants why the problem exists? This is the first ‘why?’
Next, the participants submit answers and ideas, doing so by following a color code designed to distinguish between different levels of complexity.
“We invite the participants to log on to the Klaxoon online whiteboard. There they find a single, main question. To which each then submits his/her answers. We proceed by teamwork. It’s simple. And it’s direct!”
Participants’ answers all arrive in a dedicated Inbox. Louise and Erell then sift through them to eliminate ideas that appear more than once. Next they present each idea to the meeting, and post them to the Board one by one. So the Board fills up slowly and systematically, allowing participants time to familiarize themselves with the answers put forward by their colleagues.
To illustrate the causal link between the ideas submitted, Louise and Erell use the ‘Connector’ function in Board, dragging and dropping ideas at will, and without uncoupling things already linked. As the meeting progresses, Board thus displays a growing network of causes and effects, in a structured manner, building out the big picture around the problem!
The project leaders and managers that attend Louise and Erell’s meetings find this an excellent tool to identify the root causes of a problem. They say it helps them anticipate problems and thus to limit their negative effects, or even avoid them altogether.
But Orange is a very large company. So Louise and Erell needed to innovate if they were to train up workers company-wide. So they decided to:
● Design a new series of workshops to introduce the Kaizen method to employees and show them how to implement it with Klaxoon tools (to great acclaim!),
● Produce a do-it-yourself video (which they uploaded to the Orange Group’s intranet) that encourages employees to use the Board wherever and whenever they need it, and
● Write a whole chapter on Klaxoon Board, which they have now included in their training sessions on new project management techniques.
The new project management method put forward by Louise and Erell in March 2020 met with success almost overnight. Very soon, teams throughout Orange were working with Klaxoon Board to outstanding effect.
Today the two project managers are very proud of the solution they built, and happy to point out how easy and quick it was to customize Board to their corporate needs.
This, in fact, is one of the greatest strengths of Klaxoon Board: users can create a 100% customized Board, and turn it into a template.
Klaxoon comes with a whole library full of ready-to-use Kaizen templates
However, the Klaxoon template library also includes ready-to-use templates and detailed instructions for use.
For example, Louise and Erell designed a 5 whys template specifically to make use of the 5 why project management method and identification of problems’ root causes real easy. The template has a simple layout that allows Orange users to focus on core issues such as identification of the problem and its root causes. By working on such questions in team settings, Orange employees are able to better diagnose the main cause of a problem, and can thus solve it faster.
Users can install this user-friendly Template on their Klaxoon Board in just a few clicks, and immediately start using it. Should you need any help, there is a detailed user guide to help you out.
There are also color codes, connectors, lines and plenty of other tools that will help you customize the template in any way you see fit, e.g. by changing the place of parts already present in the template, or adding blocks and space to share information, etc. All of which allows you, over time, to build out Board into a comprehensive project management tool fully suited to your particular needs!
Additionally, the library contains all whole range of other Kaizen method templates.
What other advantages are there to using Klaxoon Board for project management and continuous improvement?
Louise and Erell’s main objective was to adjust their Kaizen and 5 whys workshop to employees working from home. It was a resounding success in very large part thanks to, as they are happy to point out, Klaxoon Board!
Their main worry, however, was converting their colleagues to Klaxoon Board. With employees used to in-person, inhouse meetings, it’s easy to understand their concern. How were their colleagues going to adjust to a remote setting for meetings?
But employees immediately fell in love with Klaxoon and starting using it for their daily exchanges, not only for 5 why meetings, but indeed for all their project management needs.
For Louise and Erell, there are certain features in Klaxoon Board that contributed most particularly to its success with Orange employees, for example things like…
An online whiteboard that looks much like the real thing, just better!
Klaxoon Board looks familiar and is very easy to use, thanks in particular to the Board that takes over many aspects of in-person meetings. It thus remains as close as possible to what participants are used to. Meaning they will find:
● A digital whiteboard,
● On which you can write and draw,
● And on which you can drag, drop or modify objects to present them better.
Changes made on the Board are displayed on the screens of all participants in real time. This allows colleagues to have real interchanges, just like at the office!
A project management tool that offers visual management
Louise and Erell are also very impressed by the strong visual features of the Board. While users can customize it any way they like, it remains clear and understandable at a glance. Visual management is made easy thanks to features like color codes, the filter function (which allows you to display only certain ideas in line with the tags linked to them), and a range of tools like connectors, lines, arrows and so forth.
The overall result is an interface that Orange users find quick and easy to understand.
The clarity of information also makes it easy to export the Board, for example as an image with the Capture tool, and to integrate it into a document. Likewise, users can connect to the Board at any moment they wish to consult the information posted there by others. Teamwork in real time. Together these features contribute to making the Board nothing less than a fully-fledged project management tool in its own right.
Increased participation and better teamwork through Klaxoon Board
Louise and Erell found that using Board for their workshops encouraged colleagues to talk more freely and naturally about work-related problems and their causes.
Everyone could post their ideas on the problem discussed. This helped participants to together find solutions.
For the toughest or most sensitive problems, participants may also opt to post comments (or complaints) anonymously, using a pseudonym.
Klaxoon Board thus really encourages employees to participate and express themselves on issues. In fact, Louise and Erell are no longer automatically the ones directing proceedings since it really is the ideas contributed by the group and studied one by one that set the course. Participants are afforded an opportunity to report on the real problems they encounter, and as such are happy to contribute and along with the other participants work out solutions.
What’s more is that Klaxoon Board helped Louise and Erell put together project management workshops much faster and far more efficiently. Because it freed them from the need to arrange a room or other physical meeting place for participants. Finding such venues used to be very tough owing to the transversal nature of the teams they typically work with (employees from different units and different areas of France).
Today, thanks to Klaxoon Board, Louise and Erell just send out an invitation, and each colleague invited is free to join the meeting. Also, while Board offers an integrated, live videoconferencing interface, participants remain free to use any videoconferencing software they like. Klaxoon Board really adjusts perfectly to each scenario every time.
Klaxoon is an investment in teamwork in that it promotes participation and provides tools for better overall project management
In fact, Louise and Erell found the Board so simple and so intuitive that they needed no outside help to master it. Then, what they learned on their own, they were able to pass on to their colleagues just as easily.
Still, despite Board’s user-friendliness, Klaxoon does offer assistance to clients who wish to implement Klaxoon solutions to the fullest extent as fast as possible.
For Louise and Erell, Klaxoon Board is a perfect fit for Orange. With the possibility it offers employees to connect from anywhere, anytime, they use it for both synchronous and asynchronous meetings.
For in-person meetings, they use Board either with a video projector or Meeting Board. And for remote meetings, either with the Live tool (directly integrated in Board) or any other videoconferencing tool.
Thanks to all of these extremely user-friendly features and the smooth flow of information it generates, they find Board an unbelievable tool that makes meetings more collegial and more productive than ever before!