Lean Roanoke

The City of Roanoke, Virginia recognizes the importance of change and how embracing change improves business processes. Citizens expectations are rising and municipalities are being forced to do more with less. The City of Roanoke has forward thinking leaders that have aspired to make the organization more efficient using Lean methodology.

Lean training has helped city employees improve processes using technology and other improvements to achieve a more efficient work environment benefiting it's customers.
Harvard Ash Bright Idea Program Recognition

Bright Ideas is an initiative that recognizes creative and promising government programs and partnerships. The initiative is offered through the Innovations in Government Program, a program of the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard Kennedy School. For more information, please visit 
Bright Ideas online.


Lean is an overall business methodology that strives to deliver the most value to the customer in the most effective way.

Lean Project Goals

  • Eliminate waste
  • Improve quality
  • Improve services
  • Minimize cost
  • Reduce time
  • Remove activities that don't add value and continual improvement
Six Sigma
Six Sigma is the logical framework for problem-solving, process improvement, and variation and defect reduction.

The 5 Six Sigma steps link to each other and provide a logical sequence creating an infinite loop of process improvement. The 5 steps are 
Define - Measure - Analyze - Improve - Control
6 Sigma Define Measure Analyze Improve Control
Partnership with Virginia Tech
During the summer of 2012, the City of Roanoke entered into a 2 pronged partnership with Virginia Tech involving the school’s Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE) in Blacksburg, Virginia and its Center for Higher Learning in Roanoke, Virginia.
  1. VT I.S.E. Student Projects
  2. Lean Management
  3. Lean Six Sigma
Annually, the ISE (Industrial and Systems Engineering) Department solicits Lean capstone projects for its students to complete as a graduation requirement. In September 2012, city projects were submitted, and ISE selected 4 projects in the following areas: Police Department, Social Services, Building Inspections, and Planning. In August 2013, two additional projects from the City’s Transportation Division and the Greater Roanoke Transit Company were chosen and evaluated by a new class of students.  And in August 2014, four additional projects were selected – three from the Police Department and one from the Facilities group at our City Schools.

These ten projects provided the students an opportunity to apply classroom training to real world situations while providing a significant benefit to the city departments and ultimately, to citizens and businesses. At the end of each school year, city staff met with the Virginia Tech faculty coordinator to critique the process and make tweaks for the upcoming year.  We anticipate continuing this partnership in 2015 and subsequent years.