In lean manufacturing, there's a concept referred to as Gemba Walks. This is essentially where someone who's not directly involved in the day-to-day labor on the manufacturing lines walks the floor to identify waste, observe how the work is actually being performed, build relationships, observe working conditions, and many other things. In manufacturing, it has quite a few benefits and companies that practice it often speak highly of the value it brings.
As it relates to software engineering, what would you consider to be a Gemba Walk? How have you seen others or how do you effectively observe working conditions and gained the other benefits that Gemba Walks can bring? If you're not sure you've seen it done, how would you apply Gemba Walks to software engineering? Maybe you are in the "front lines," so to speak, but this could also be applied to staying in-sync with other engineers or other parts of the system. How do you accomplish that?
(This isn't to say I don't have ideas on this, but I really want to hear your ideas on it.)