The Purpose of Measuring Cycle Times

I recently made the assumption that I did not need to explain why shorter cycle times were generally desirable.  However, I was mistaken, so let me explain:

If the average cycle time from starting to finishing a user story goes from 20 days down to 5 days:

Does this mean that the developers are writing code 4 times faster?    NO



Does this mean the customer is getting 4 times more features delivered?    NO






So what does it mean?


It means:


  • we can see meaningful progress 4 times faster
  • we deliver something 4 times more often
  • we are seeing problems in our end-to-end process 4 times faster
  • we are probably able to predict 4 times more accurately
  • we practise all of our end-to-end processes 4 times more and so have 4 times more chance of getting better at them
  • our focus is 4 times better and so our effort is 4 times more likely not to be wasted
  • we are working 4 times smarter!



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