What is Lean Government?

Lean Government is a term used to describe an evidence based process to identify the most efficient and value-added way to provide needed government services.  Lean Government uses a process called Value Stream Mapping to analyze administrative processes.  The results are used to design technology use, task completion and staffing patterns to meet the identified need.

Lean Government promotes the idea that government should cut out waste and inefficiency from the State, which will result in providing better services and more value for tax supported necessities.  Lean government doesn’t necessarily promote low taxes, only efficient use of those taxes levied.  Tax policy is discerned by the legislative and executive branches of government with oversight of the judicial branch of government.  Lean government is implemented by the administrative function of government through executive order, legislative mandate or departmental administrative decision.

Lean government is a mindset and a discipline to increase our capacity to do more and streamline.

There are four key steps:

  1. Be clear about your purpose and bottom line.  What ‘good’ are you trying to create?
  2. Know what customers (taxpayers) want and what they value.
  3. Build great programs.  Permits, substance abuse counseling programs, tax audits, etc.
  4. Find a way to make the programs better, faster and cheaper.


You can learn more about the Management and Strategy Institute’s Lean Six Sigma Black Belt or Green Belt in government.