Abstract Paper aims This paper aims to critically review the Lean-based methodologies (e.g. Lean production, Lean Six Sigma, and lean government) in Public Administration to locate the critical success factors (CSFs) for lean public management implementation. Originality It is one of the first systematic literature reviews to explore the CSFs of Lean-based methodologies in the public sector with a strategic focus on the l-government. Research method This research is based on a systematic review of 83 articles that were published on Lean-based methodologies in public sector organizations in well-known academic databases. Main findings There were identified 28 CSFs, grouped by a taxonomy of five significant lean public management categories that deal with the spread of Lean-based methodologies in different public sector environments and can be used to guide continuous improvement (CI) in the public sector. Implications for theory and practice This paper can provide a better panorama to understand the present status of Lean-based methodologies towards public practices, as well as, to bridge the gap of a systematic approach (taxonomy) that could direct CI implementation in the public sector, considering a proper understanding of distinct public management characteristics, which can effectively guide practitioners, facilitating their decision-making.