Lean government initiative FAQs
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Lean government FAQs

  1. What is the Lean Government Initiative and what does it mean for WisDOT?
  2. What is Lean Six Sigma?
  3. What changes as a result of using Lean Six Sigma?
  4. What will it mean to our customers?
  5. How are MAPSS and the Lean Government Initiative related?
  6. How are projects selected?
  7. How can I view project results?
  8. How do we make time for process improvement?
  9. What training does WisDOT offer on Lean Six Sigma?
  10. Who is my division’s Lean lead?
  11. Who can I contact for more information?

1. What is the Lean Government Initiative and what does it mean for WisDOT?

Governor Walker’s Executive Order #66 Internet link requires all cabinet agencies to participate in a statewide "Lean Government Initiative. Internet link" Starting in July 2012, the department kicked off a set of demonstration projects aimed at improving customer service, maximizing efficient operations, saving costs, streamlining processes and making informed data-driven decisions. The department is also required to report annually to the Governor’s Office on progress toward meeting the mandate.

2. What is Lean Six Sigma?

Lean Six Sigma is a customer-focused, systematic process improvement methodology. It marries the tenets of two separate philosophies. Lean is aimed at reducing lead times, reducing backlogs and identifying waste (non value-added activities), freeing staff to focus on “mission critical” tasks. It is distinct from other cost cutting methodologies of the past, in that it focuses on improving quality and lead time to meet customer needs at a lower cost, as opposed to legacy approaches which cut services, programs or staff.

Six Sigma is an approach that eliminates defects, improves services, reduces variability and uses data-driven knowledge to make decisions. All improvements are supported by data and facts, to ensure that results are tracked quantitatively. Together, Lean and Six Sigma provide a flexible set of tools to create efficiencies, make process toward meeting the needs of our customers and streamline processes.

3. What changes as a result of using Lean Six Sigma?

Lean Six Sigma results in better customer service, reduced process complexity and variation, improved efficiency and better staff morale. However, it is not a fix-all for all situations.

4. What does it mean to our customers?

Customers directly use the services WisDOT provides and are the group who determine what is “quality” and “value added.” Their needs drive the focus of the agency and inform our strategies initiatives. By clearly defining value from the customer’s perspective, non- value added activities can be targeted for removal. Transportation stakeholders also influence the services we provide. In general, stakeholders will be satisfied when the department is taking care of our customers.

5. How are MAPSS and the Lean Government Initiative related?

There are a number of elements that make up a performance measurement system. At the highest level, the department’s mission, vision and values are supported by core goal areas (mobility, accountability, preservation, safety and service) that are intended to focus the agency toward “mission critical” activities.

High-priority, dashboard measures and associated targets demonstrate success and accountability toward MAPSS goal areas. There are also additional strategic and operational MAPSS measures at individual program and work unit levels that do not appear on the dashboard. Some of these are reported on the Web; others are reported out internally to WisDOT management to improve day-to-day decision-making.

Strategic initiatives, including the Lean Government Initiative, provide a mechanism for ongoing progress toward meeting performance targets, through the implementation of process improvements aligned with MAPSS core goal areas. There are process metrics associated with these projects to quantify improvements.

6. How are projects selected?

All projects must align with at least one MAPSS goal. Potential projects are identified by Divisions and approved by WisDOT’s Board of Directors, based on how well they meet the selection criteria:

  • do not require statutory or administrative rule changes
  • focus on meeting WisDOT’s customers’ needs
  • address high priority, visible issues, aligned with at least one MAPSS goal
  • have potential for dramatic improvement
  • currently have measureable data that can be used to track improvement
  • maximize efficiency
  • minimize waste (overproduction, inventory, waiting, correction, non-value added processing, transportation, motion and underutilized staff)
  • increase staff productivity and/or reduce workload that can be redirected to other tasks
  • standardize processes to reduce variability, streamline and improve reliability

7. How can I view project results?

Results are published to the Lean Government dotnet page for viewing by WisDOT staff. Project charters and summary results are also reported to the statewide Lean Government Initiative Internet link site for public viewing.

8. How do we make time for process improvement?

That is exactly the problem Lean Six Sigma is intended to address. By making improvements to help WisDOT work smarter, staff time can be freed up for more value-added activities.

9. What training does WisDOT offer on Lean Six Sigma?

All WisDOT Administrators, Directors, other leaders and Lean Division Leads have had Lean Six Sigma training to provide them with a conceptual understanding of the methodology.

Lean Division Leads, the agency’s Point of Contact, and other leaders have attended Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt training and beyond, to provide them with the additional theoretical knowledge and technical skills to enable them to facilitate Lean projects. Just-in-time training and mentoring are provided to lean team members as needed.

Lean Six Sigma training is supported by WisDOT management. Employees are encouraged to let their supervisors know of their interest in participating. Course descriptions are available here.

Number of staff trained in the past 12 months

  •  61 White Belt (team member) trainees
  •  14 Yellow Belt (beginning team lead) trainees
  •  9 Green Belts (advanced team lead) trainees
  •  6 Black Belts (advanced Lean Six Sigma tools) trainees
  •  7 Kepner Tregoe Problem Solving and Decision-Making participants
  •  25 Value Stream Mapping (VSM) participants

10. Who is my Division’s Lean lead?

The following individuals have been assigned as Lean leads within the divisions:

See Contacts

11. Who can I contact for more information?

For more information about the Lean Government Initiative:
Jackie Irving
Wisconsin Department of Transportation
Office of Management and Budget
4822 Madison Yards Way, S914
P.O. Box 7910, Madison, WI 53707-7910
Phone: (608) 264-8435; email: jacquelynm.irving@dot.wi.gov

Last updated: July 11, 2018


Related links: 

Wisconsin Lean Government Program

Customer satisfaction survey

Lean government Internet site

MAPSS Internet site