Keystone Research at PD Presenters Week: Lean Thinking for Program Evaluation

August 19th, 2013 | General »

Hello! Our names are Joyce Miller and Tania Bogatova, from KeyStone Research Corporation (KSRC), a research and consulting organization in Erie, Pennsylvania. KSRC provides expertise to organizations, enabling them to link research, policy, and practice and to build their capacity for performance excellence.

We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.  Aristotle

Several years ago we were introduced to Lean Thinking and immediately recognized how its philosophy and methods were a natural fit for the evaluation of social programs.  Lean Thinking is an approach for assessing organizational behavior and applying problem solving techniques that complement and support the focus on organizational learning and continuous quality improvement. Quality improvement is at the heart of program evaluation, yet this approach, tools, and techniques are not known or widely used by program evaluators.

Hot Tip: Organizations can use lean methods to map processes, analyze operations and determine ways to eliminate activities that are wasteful and add no value to the services delivered. An example of a value stream map is illustrated below:


Hot Tip: Service organizations that undergo a lean transformation optimize the use of time and money associated with operations and ensure that scarce resources are allocated to the activities that produce the greatest value for clients served.

Hot Tip: Using a lean lens enables organizations to tap into the latent energy and innovative ideas of personnel and to release resources trapped in a vicious cycle of wasted work efforts.

Hot Tip: By applying the lean concepts, methods, and tools, service organizations can improve their effectiveness and efficiency and thereby ensure accountability for the funding they receive.

Rad Resource: to learn more about how to apply lean methods and tools to the analysis of service organizations, check out our book: Improving Performance in Service Organizations: How to Implement a Lean Transformation.

Want to learn more from Joyce and Tania? Register for their PD workshop: Lean Thinking in Program Evaluation at Evaluation 2013 in Washington, DC!

This week, we’re featuring posts by people who will be presenting Professional Development workshops at Evaluation 2013 in Washington, DC. Click here for a complete listing of Professional Development workshops offered at Evaluation 2013. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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