Reducing Cycle Time

This post is from by Jim Highsmith.

An increasing number of organizations are moving towards radical reductions in cycle time as they move towards rapid business responsiveness and Continuous Delivery. (I’m trying to reduce my personal cycle time, but that’s another issue.)

One mantra that seems to help teams and organizations in this quest is, “If it’s hard to do, do it more often!” Keep this mantra in mind. If something appears too hard, or too costly, or too slow—figure out a way to do it more often. I once worked with a company whose product took six months of Q/A prior to release. The Q/A manager couldn’t imagine how to reduce the time to two-week iterations, so I asked him if he could figure out how to do it every two months. After several subsequent iterations, his group was able to support two-week iterations. From lean manufacturing examples, we often see that 80% or more of the time taken to accomplish a process usually works out to be wait time, not work time, so pushing for significant reductions is often much easier than anticipated at first.

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