Addressing casework backlogs would seem to represent “low hanging fruit” for increasing offender apprehension and improving justice. Yet, after years of grant funding for backlog reduction and capacity building, backlogged cases, especially DNA cases, continue to increase in U.S. forensic laboratories. Why? This paper suggests a shift from linear, mechanical thinking to a systems thinking approach may help to see ways to leverage laboratories from dysfunctional operational states burdened by history to new ways of seeing themselves as part of a system of systems. The A3 method is offered as a practical approach to initiating a systems approach.