What is T2L?

The T2L metric measures how quickly the teams can learn from actual users. It’s the time between the initial start of a changed or additional feature and the moment the team has learned from users. The shorter the T2L, the greater the learning speed.

Time to learn (T2L) is the latency between the start of build process and learning based on feedback from actual usage from customers. Put in other words: it’s the time between starting the development of new functionality, features or improvements including delivering or releasing it to customers and also the time it takes to gather enough data and feedback from actual users to learn and make choices accordingly.

This metric is based on the lead time[1] metric often used in manufacturing and the time to market[2] metric. These traditional metrics measure the process until the customer. They don’t incorporate the feedback and data from actual users and spending time on actual learning. In complex environments this feedback is crucial to know if the market hasn’t changed, if users perceive it as something positive and to improve it even further.  It’s the role of the agile leader to improvement the environment of his teams so that they can learn faster.

The T2L is the metric to measure the agility of an organization. The shorter the T2L the higher the ability to respond quickly and wisely to customer feedback.

Why a T2L Metric?

Is enough feedback from users requested and learned from? Self-managing teams need to learn quickly from actual usage. It’s impossible to self-manage if teams know after a year’s time whether they are doing the right thing or not. This can be compared to driving for half an hour blindfolded or as a chef not wanting to know if guests like the food. In a complex, dynamic market, it is crucial that teams know quickly whether they are doing the right work. They have to know whether what they make is still in line with the rapidly changing needs. It is therefore important that the learning loop is completed quickly or in other words to have a high learning speed. The faster, the sooner it becomes clear whether teams are doing the right thing. This gives the teams an excellent responsiveness to respond quickly to unexpected situations. But can this speed be measured? Exactly for this the T2L metric has been developed.

Example calculation

Getting started with T2L

How can the T2L be taken into practice? First of all, by including this standard in the various weekly and monthly reports of, for example, projects, improvement initiatives, team overviews and action items. This creates much more focus on improving the learning speed.
For this it is useful to promote a lower T2L when making the decisions. By choosing a phased rollout and not doing everything at once, the T2L is already considerably lower. In addition, it is a good indication of the risk for projects: a low T2L means a lower risk. There is quicker feedback from real users, which makes it clearer if a project is feasible and valuable.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead_time

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_to_market