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Results Washington history

What does Results Washington do?
  • Tracks how Washington is doing in achieving priority outcomes
  • Delivers statewide data to help leaders make better decisions
  • Fosters constructive partnerships and collaborations to better surface and solve problems
  • Provides an enterprise-level perspective that helps agencies stay aligned with the Governor's priorities and helps break down historic silos and barriers to improvement
  • Leads and supports the state's Lean efforts. The 2018 Lean Transformation Conference was the state's - and arguably the nation's - largest Lean conference.

Washington state government has a long history of leading the charge in public-sector performance improvement. Leadership engagement and ongoing investment in performance management systems and tools reflects a state government culture committed to delivering better results.

The Efficiency Commission was a bipartisan board established in statute in the 1980s that was chaired by Gov. Booth Gardner and included members of the legislature, labor, and business. Staffed by the Office of Financial Management, the commission took on cost-saving projects, like centralizing the state motor pool, as well as personnel management and budget improvement projects. The commission enacted a budgeting system that could track based on activities and performance, and helped move state agencies overall in the direction of quality improvement.

Early 1990s
After Mike Lowry was elected Governor in 1992, the Efficiency Commission was sunset and the state legislature established the Washington Performance Partnership Council, a 12-member body comprised of Gov. Lowry and state elected officials, to set statewide performance measures around customer service, cost-effectiveness, and productivity. Agencies also began using performance measures to better allocate resources, budget and request funding, and assess and realign agency priorities. This approach was first implemented systematically by Washington state agencies in the 1994 legislative session for the 1995-97 biennial budget per Senate Bill 6601.

Late 1990s
While the Performance Partnership Council was eliminated by the legislature in 1996, the executive branch under Gov. Gary Locke went on to adopt performance tools, like the Balanced Scorecard quality improvement initiative to measure progress and the Malcolm Baldrige criteria to help drive change. These tools were promoted by the governor’s office, and agencies were encourage to incorporate the tool into their performance efforts.

Early 2000s
By the early 2000s, Total Quality Management (TQM) had become the structured approach to improve service quality, internal practices, and overall organizational management. In 2002, Gov. Gary Locke applied a structured approach to budgeting for the 2003-05 biennial budget called the Priorities of Government (POG) in which agency funding requests were considered in the context of statewide results. In this results-based budget process, 1,400 state government activities were reviewed and prioritized based on performance and alignment within ten measurable goal areas and decision-making was guided by the desire to invest in those results citizens most wanted.
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Late 2000s
In 2005, Gov. Christine Gregoire established the Governor’s Management, Accountability, and Performance or GMAP program. Previous performance efforts addressed only one aspect of performance management, such as customer service or budgeting. GMAP merged these management tools into a comprehensive framework. More complex data management and performance metrics became the standard under GMAP. The web-based Dataview tool was brought online in 2008 to deliver publicly-accessible data dashboards.
Under GMAP, state agency heads met with Gov. Gregoire in a public forum to discuss performance measure gaps and opportunities, and the governor held her leaders accountable in a very visible way for improving performance.

Early 2010s
In 2010, Gov. Gregoire accepted advice from the Boeing Company to explore Lean as a strategy for state government. A Lean Symposium was held and several hundred state employees attended. The following year, Gov. Gregoire issued EO 11-04 directing her cabinet agencies to each conduct and report on improvement projects using Lean methods. The Lean Practitioner Path was created to support this effort. Private-sector Lean experts provided pro bono coaching and training to more than 70 employees representing 26 cabinet agencies. 

By 2012, less than a year later, there were 180 Lean practitioners throughout state government, and 6,400 employees and 1,600 leaders had received Lean training. In addition, ninety-five formal improvement projects and more than 700 informal improvements had been completed. This strong beginning set the pace for the acceleration of Lean culture and practices across state government for the years that followed. The first Washington State Government Lean Transformation Conference was also held in 2012.

In 2013, newly-elected Gov. Jay Inslee issued executive order 13-04, launching Results Washington, the state’s current performance management initiative. Many of the performance management efforts that came before Results Washington shared common principles and strategies, such as an emphasis on tracking progress, adjusting accordingly and involving front-line employees in improvement work. Results Washington built on these past efforts, with an expanded focus on Lean management and a structure designed to make progress on some of the state’s biggest challenges. The GovState (Socrata) tool was brought online in 2014.

Late 2010s
Results Washington built on the nationally-recognized GMAP program and used IdeaScale, a cloud-based innovation management platform, to gather public input on what should be measured and what mattered most to citizens. Discussions were also held statewide with stakeholders to gather feedback. Five goal areas were developed out of this work:

  • World-Class Education
  • Prosperous Economy
  • Sustainable Energy & Clean Environment
  • Healthy & Safe Communities
  • Effective, Efficient & Accountable Government

Goal councils for each of the five areas made up of agency heads and were assigned to each area and met monthly to review the measures and discuss performance in their area. These Results Reviews brought everybody to the table.
In 2018, Results WA began evolving in response to stakeholder feedback. Results Reviews were redesigned to better facilitate problem-solving and focus on the experience of Washingtonians. To better track state priorities, Results WA moved away from tracking nearly 200 assorted performance measures to focus on approximately 20 key outcome measures and supporting drivers that reflect key state priorities throughout Washingtonians lifespan. As technology has evolved, the way the state tracks, measures and visualizes performance data has changed. In 2019, Results Washington published new online dashboards that included the new outcome measures, narrative content connecting the data with results that matter to Washingtonians, and the real-life stories of people in Washington impacted by focus areas.

Lean Transformation Journey
Since the formation of Results Washington, the state has remained committed to creating a world class lean management system with the goal of delivering better value to Washingtonians. Between 2013 to 2018 agencies reported that their employees took part in 6,846 Lean improvement projects. We have seen improvements in child abuse investigations, cut the costs of X-rays, and helped more Washingtonians find work. More examples of real results from these projects include:

  • Cut transportation permit processing time from 15 days to 9 days.
  • Reduced audit appeals completion time from 441 days to 66 days, which saved employers $1.7 million in interest.
  • LNI reduced the processing time to post employers compensation premiums payments to employers accounts from 8 business days to 2 business days.  
  • The Washington State Patrol reduced the processing time for DNA samples by 48%, which is crucial in aiding criminal investigations.

Results Washington’s Continuous Improvement
The state continues to learn and adapt along this performance journey. Three key lessons:

  • Engage Leaders – engaged leaders are the key to sustained results
  • Partner with Experts – experts are out there and willing to help
  • Grow Informal Networks – people must drive cultural change
  • Support front-line employees to be innovators and problem-solvers

Responding to the need for a more collaborative structure (within and outside of state government), Results WA is promoting new and different partnerships, incorporating design thinking, and helping make Washington state government more human-centered.
In 2019, Results Washington delivers clear and useful statewide data, helps leaders make better state decisions, and tracks how Washington is doing in achieving priority outcomes. Using Lean principles, behavioral science and design-thinking, Results Washington is creating a more responsive, data-driven and human-centered government.
Moving forward, Results WA is becoming:

  • More human-centered. Connect the data and results to real people, their stories, and a clear human impact, applying behavioral science and human-centered design principles.
  • More evidence-based. Incorporating research to help identify key drivers of the outcomes and focus state government’s response.
  • More collaborative. Create learning opportunities, facilitate problem-solving, and build connections across state government to help deliver better results for Washingtonians.
  • Continue the state’s Lean journey. Provide leadership in applying structured problem-solving to identify and resolve problems across state government.