I'm currently revisiting Accelerate by Nicole Forsgren and I'm looking at her metrics for measuring high performance. Specifically Lead Time which she defines as:

Lead Time is the time it takes from the customer making a request to the request being satisfied.

She also notes that

there are two parts to the lead time: the time it takes to design and validate a product or feature, and the time to deliver the feature to customers.

However, in a normal scrum team stories are added and prioritised to the backlog all the time. Something may be added and then deprioritized or even cancelled. when exactly does a customer "make a request?"

Is it:

  • When it's added to the backlog?
  • When it's accepted in Sprint planning?
  • When it's "accepted" and estimated?
  • Somewhere in between?

I'm less worried about "delivered" that feeds into definition of done.

Any "word of god" statements from Forsgren herself would be preferred.

1 Answer 1


The idea of lead time is that when the customer asks for something, a clock starts ticking in their head and that clock stops when they have it in their hands. Therefor, a feature's lead time would be from when the request is received (this usually corresponds to adding it to the backlog) until it is delivered and usable to the requestor.

Full disclosure, I haven't read Accelerate, but since Forsgren is using an existing term and it seems it's being used correctly, I am referring to the proper definition of the term.

Now, that isn't to say all those other things you mention aren't valuable. They may be. They may even be more valuable to you than lead time. They just aren't lead time.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.