Saturday, January 12, 2013

Long History of Lean Thinking in Government

This is my comment from a closed access Linked In group.

It is good news that a government organization is adopting lean thinking ideas, but this kind of thing has been going on for decades. My father wrote a short section in Dr. Deming's Out of the Crisis on applying these ideas in the City of Madison (early 1980's). I was involved in the Public Sector Network (federal, state and local gov in 1990's) that group joined ASQ and is now the ASQ government division. I was involved with the Federal Quality Network 1990s (federal government effort). I worked in the Office of Secretary of Defense Quality Management Office 1996-2001. I created and maintain the Public Sector Continuous Improvement Site.

There have been many great efforts over the years. Sadly most fade away leaving behind the use of a few good tools and a bit better process thinking but that is about it. Executive comprehension of the better management methods seem to disappear quickly (the executives, in government [not all of them of course, some do great stuff], are also much more reluctant to embrace better management practices than others in the organization).

  Doing More with Less in the Public Sector, A Progress Report from Madison, Wisconsin, 1987.
  Transformation and Redesign at the White House Communications Agency by March Laree Jacques, 1999.

We have to expect more of our governments. Better management practices will provide more value at less costs - both of which are badly needed in the economy today.

Related: Managing Our Way to Economic Success Two Untapped Resources - Focus on the Work: Pick Improvement Projects that Really Help Your Agency's Operations - Using Quality to Develop an Internet Resource

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