A management method of identifying the current situation by directly observing and asking questions before taking action.
Gemba means "real place" in Japanese. Lean thinkers use the term to designate the place where value is created. Japanese companies often combine gemba with the related term "genchi genbutsu" - short for "go and see" - to emphasize the importance of empiricism.
Because value on its way to the customer travels a horizontal path through a company, a gemba walk is effective, for example, when following one product family, product design or process from start to finish through departments, functions and organizations. This says James Womack, author of Gemba Walks and founder of the Lean Enterprise Institute.
He recommends convening everyone involved in the process in question to take such a walk together and in the meantime exchange views on the purpose (what problem does this process solve for the customer), the process (how exactly does it work) and the people (are they involved in creating, sustaining and improving the process). Thus, a gemba walk becomes a way of understanding, leading and learning.