Proactive synergies, moving forward
January 21, 2014 7:32 PM   Subscribe

Resources for helping to recognise and identify, then eliminate or mitigate, government department operational waste?

So, I'm now part of a project within our state government department's business unit that has been tasked with identifying problems. These are problems with process, with operations, with focus, and with waste. We're all about red tape reduction, internally and externally, apparently.

(We're going to be project managing stuff using Agile, too, apparently, for those in-the-know.)

We're not the first government department to pretend we are going to be doing this, so rather than mind-mapping the wheel and acting like we're coming up with new and interesting ideas, I'd like to immediately introduce a bit of efficiency to the whole affair by drawing on work of this nature that has already been done.

I've found a little bit of gear on "Lean Government" that was developed by the US EPA, and it actually looks pretty interesting. I guess I'm just throwing this out there and asking if anybody can recommend any other resources (ideally online) that can help everything along.
posted by turbid dahlia to Law & Government (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Ken Miller is a former state employee (Missouri Dept. of Revenue) who talks about this on the lecture circuit and has a book out called Extreme Government Makeover. If you go back a little further, there are several other examples of business process reengineering at the state government level. Governing magazine covers this kind of stuff all of the time. There is a book by James Q. Wilson titled Bureaucracy: What Government Agencies Do And Why They Do It that is also a very instructive read. While Wilson's focus is mostly on the federal government, he does a fantastic job of explaining why all governments seek to get smaller/leaner/more efficient, but fail to achieve that goal. Memail me if you'd like to get into more specifics.
posted by kovacs at 8:55 PM on January 21, 2014

The The GAP Program at DePaul might be helpful.

The Government Assistance Program began with the conviction that doing government work well is important, it is difficult, and not enough people recognize and care about it. Established by The Chicago Community Trust in 1989, GAP developed creative and outcome-oriented methods to help public servants identify, analyze, and clear organizational barriers which often impede efficient and responsive services. GAP's success in these efforts led to its becoming separately incorporated as a non-partisan, non-profit organization. The Government Assistance Program is located at DePaul University with whom it shares a similar vision of public service.

(My only experience with the program was positive, but it was also 20 years ago.)
posted by she's not there at 9:22 PM on January 21, 2014

You could investigate the work of UK consultant John Seddon with local authorities.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 12:49 PM on January 22, 2014

This is all good stuff, thanks everybody!
posted by turbid dahlia at 4:28 PM on January 22, 2014

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