A Public Sector Journey to Operational Excellence Applying Lean Principles to Public Policy
A Public Sector Journey to Operational Excellence links effective government operations to the ability to accomplish bold social goals. The book illustrates how the principles and techniques of continuous improvement can be applied to public sector management and public policy development. The linkage of management to policy is woven throughout the four sections:
Part 1 begins with the history and application of the principles of continuous improvement (CI). Readers are introduced to Lean and related methodology. CI principles are then juxtaposed with John M. Bernard’s categorization of three stages of maturity in government. Next, guidance is provided on how to launch a CI initiative in the public sector, leading to a discussion of public administration in theory and practice.
Part 2 examines the application of CI to governmental operations. Examples, such as the VA’s hiring process, underscore the need to Lean bureaucratic and regulatory processes. Profiles of CI work in several states illustrate both the potential and the pitfalls, leading to recommendations for an optimal model.
Part 3 acknowledges that among the responsibilities of government, the public policy function is the most difficult to Lean. It discusses the complexities inherent in government since the public policy is both a political and an administrative function. Toyota Kata methodology is illustrated, with its potential application to the challenges of policy development. It could be a force multiplier when civics and politics meet CI.
Part 4 links the promise of CI to make government more effective, enabling it to solve complex problems. Strategies are proposed to overcome the threats and sustain the gains in these initiatives. Cognizant of the many challenges, the book closes with a range of recommendations and a reflection on the purpose of government.
Section I. The Foundation of Continuous Improvement and Operational Maturity
1. Introduction to Lean and Continuous Improvement
2. The Three Stages of Maturity in State Government
3. The Kaizen Concept, 4. Lean Management
5. Theory and Practice
Section II. Leaning Government Operations
6. Breaking Bad Bureaucracy
7. The Goldilocks Standard for Lean Regulation
8. Moving to Results-Based State Government
9. A Model for CI in State Government
Section III. Leaning Government Policy
10. The Three Ps: Politics, Policy Making, and Public Administrators
11. A Case Study of Unlean Public Policy: U.S. Health Care
12. Applying CI to Public Administration
13. Lean Policy Development
Section IV. A Lean Future State
14. Leaning Government Operations
15. Continuous Improvement for Thriving Communities
16. Diffusion of Lean Culture and Level Three Government
Appendix A. Deming’s 14 Points for Management
Appendix B. ASPA Code of Ethics
Appendix C. Applying the Lessons
Appendix D. Internal Training Programs
Appendix E. Annotated Bibliography of CI Literature on My Bookshelf
At a time when an increasing number of Americans are seeing the pursuit of happiness as nothing more than a pipedream, we need to rethink how our government goes about the people's work. Kate McGovern's book makes a compelling and timely case for taking what the business world has learned from applying lean principles to how we address our most complex social problems.
- John M. Bernard, Author, Government That Works, The Results Revolution in the States
With real-life examples and drawing on her experience, Kate McGovern demonstrates how lean can transform government. She shows us what’s possible and offers proven roadmaps to success. This is a must-read for any government entity that wants to improve how it serves the public.
- Tony Rodriquez, President, Daniel Penn Associates LLC