LEAN Program


The State of Colorado’s Lean program successfully demonstrates that a customer-focused culture is possible in the public sector. 

Program Achievements

The current effort stemmed from Governor Hickenlooper’s vision of state government becoming more efficient, effective, and elegant. 

Leadership of the initiative was assigned to the Office of State Planning and Budgeting within the Governor’s Office. OSPB designed the project to be run by State employees with the support of experts from the private sector. 


From October 2011 through June 2014, the Lean Program Office has directly resourced the following:

  • 94 projects in 19 Executive departments or offices to improve government processes;
  • Another 100 projects resourced by individual departments; and
  • OSPB has supported training for more than 3,000 state employees in project selection, customer experience vision development as well as Lean tools and practices.


State of Colorado Lean Report:


iBook Version

Lean Program Report Introduction


The Lean program demonstrates a leap in innovation through: 

  • Our choice to be inclusive across all Executive Branch departments; 
  • Through developing an awareness of “customers” in a public sector workplace;
  • Treating employees respectfully; and 
  • Using consultants as teachers. 
Based on our nationwide survey, Colorado had more Lean projects underway than any other state during the period measured.  The Lean program has supported agencies in eliminating waste within their processes and providing an ideal customer experience. 

The following projects are just a few examples of tangible results from using Lean. 
  • The Departments of Revenue and Personnel completed a project that will cut the time it takes to process a tax form from 30+ days to 1-2 days, with ongoing annual cost savings of $2.0 million;   
  • The Department of Education has cut the teacher license evaluation time from 20-40 days to 10 days;  
  • A Workers Compensation Dispute Resolution project has cut process time from 30+ days to 16 days; 
  • In our mental health hospital, the admissions process has been reduced from 19 days to 7 days; and 
  • The Department of Corrections has increased the number of offenders released with a valid ID by threefold.
The Lean program has empowered the state’s workforce not only to improve processes for its citizens and customers, but it has started a transformation in culture with a focus on continuous improvement.