Operational Excellence in Government

The demands on government resources have never been greater. Budgets are growing at a far lower rate than the demand for services creating increasing pressure on agencies to improve productivity. Operational excellence in government is now a mandate across the country. But generating significant improvement in government operations is difficult. In spite of the high commitment of government employees, the system is clogged with obstacles to high performance.

Viable Vision’s unique application of Theory of Constraints (TOC) for government, used alone or combined with LEAN principles, enables government managers to expose and remove the barriers to operational excellence. Improving services within tight budgets means that efforts must be highly focused and produce results quickly. It is essential to pinpoint the most critical areas to improve so that efforts and energies are not wasted with no result. Viable Vision’s approach increases the visibility in service flows so that bottlenecks and other sources of delay are made obvious so they can be targeted and work accelerated. This has resulted in most agencies cutting their backlogs by 50% or more by processing substantially more work than ever before even without additional staff. These gains are essential is agencies are going to have a chance to meet rising demand within their budgets. 

Perhaps more importantly though Viable Vision engages workers and managers at all levels in creating both the strategies and the tactics of the solutions. Rather than encountering the typical resistance to change, this tact creates ownership within the organization so people actually push for the improvements, and not against them.


TOCICOBetter, Faster, Cheaper:  Practical Application of TOC in Government

Making government more effective and efficient has never been more important. The success states such as Utah, Texas and Hawaii have had with Viable Vision’s unique process based on Theory of Constraints have gotten serious attention. National publications like Governing, and The Public Manager have done feature articles, and the National Governor’s Association has featured these results in several of its conferences.  Now the TOC-ICO, the global professional society for Theory of Constraints is sponsoring a two-day intensive workshop for government managers seeking to reap similar gains for their agencies. Viable Vision Partner Kevin Fox will be leading the workshop to be held in Arizona in February of 2015. (more info)

Kevin Fox Speaks to Utah Government Leaders

Utah SuccessViable Vision Managing Partner, Kevin Fox, spoke to hundreds of state employees from Utah and beyond at a recent conference on Operational Excellence, hosted by Gov. Gary Herbert. Mr. Herbert kicked off the day, in support of his mandate to improve productivity across state government by at least 25%, stressing the need to spend every tax-dollar like it was our own and highlighting the critical importance of synchronizing efforts to deliver a higher quality ‘product’ for less money. Fraser Bullock, former COO of the Salt Lake Olympic Games, shared the keys to fostering effective coordination that led the Salt Lake games to be called the most successful Olympics ever. 

Mr. Fox spoke to packed rooms on how to launch effective improvement initiatives in government. Drawing on his experience working with more than 30 government agencies, he shared concrete strategies for sharpening focus, aligning work teams, and winning support for change. He spoke on the key role measurement plays in creating the impetus for improvement and ensuring efforts remain on track. Using several case studies from state agencies across the country, he provided illustrations of how to develop and deploy a Throughput Operating Strategy (TOS), a visual tool to focus improvement efforts. In each example presented, the agencies were able to achieve reductions in work backlogs of more than 50%, and improvements in key service measures above 25%. Also on the docket were government leaders from Utah and Texas, sharing their application of the TOS in a variety of different agencies. 

Utah Presents TOC to European Governments

Kristen Cox, Executive Director of the Governor’s office of Management and Budget for the State of Utah, shared how they are using Viable Vision’s model for TOC in Government to drive Operational Excellence at a European conference on Excellence in Government. The event was held in Lithuania in late 2013.

Texas Workforce Commission Results


The Texas Workforce Commission has released results of its Rapid Process Improvement initiative, supported by Viable Vision. The Commission, which provides unemployment benefits and employment services to individuals and organizations across the state of Texas, shared results ranging from 20-100% improvement in critical performance factors such as lead-times, backlogs, and costs across a range of its departments. 

The results of their initial pilot project were documented in a public report submitted to the state Legislature (read more). More recently, TWC shared that these initial gains–a reduction of nearly 50% in the work backlog within the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) program–were followed by an additional 70% reduction in backlog. These gains prompted the US Department of Labor, who oversees the program which is administered on the state level, to study the Texas operation as a possible model for all states to follow.