Value Stream Mapping event for New York State Lean

Republished from Gregory North’s LinkedIn article: here

Read the award-winning success story of this initiative: https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-announces-new-york-states-lean-initiative-wins-citizens-budget-commissions-prize

Last month New York State Lean took its award-winning program to new heights during a session in which more than eighty teams from agencies across state government worked in parallel to generate one hundred and fifteen value stream maps – in less than two hours!  I had the privilege of leading the event which was organized by NYS Lean Director Erika Choi (pictured with me above). Simultaneously working on four levels of the Empire Plaza Convention Center, teams used basic Lean tools to map out their processes, surfacing opportunities to reduce waste, improve quality and enhance the value they provide to the citizens of New York.

Working through their Value Stream Map (VSM) agency teams captured the current state of their processes, noting where improvement was needed. Some teams worked from a blank slate, designing new processes using basic lean principles.  Many teams completed two VSM’s during the event and a few completed as many as three or even four!

None of this would have been possible without three essential ingredients:

  • First, strong engagement of the agency teams and a clear commitment to Lean by their supervisors and leaders.  
  • Second, great planning, preparation and execution by Erika and the Lean Program Office, ensuring that all teams had what they needed, knew what was expected, and were able to monitor their progress through a scoreboard that captured each VSM as it was completed.  
  • And third, the investment made by NYS in Lean training, supported by partners including Xerox, Toyota, and General Electric, resulting in “Empire Belts,” Lean practitioners in each agency who worked with teams during the event and will lead next steps translating insights into action.

As each VSM is the starting point for Lean projects by these agency teams, this event represented eighty simultaneously run Kaizen event kick-offs – another tremendous example of the innovative approach NYS Lean has taken to achieve speed in scaling its deployment while generating excitement.  

As an advisor to the New York State Lean program from its inception three years ago through its successful initial piloting and rapid expansion across government agencies, it has become clear to me that the approach taken here represents a template for any any organization looking to broadly engage its workforce and improve its core processes through the power of Lean.