Lead Time Vs Cycle Time : 19 Major Differences Between Lead Time and Cycle Time

StarAgilecalenderJuly 25, 2021book minseyes2074

Introduction: Lead Time Vs. Cycle Time

Cycle Time vs. Lead Time is a critical production parameter. While cycle time indicates the amount of time required to execute a work, lead time indicates the time needed for placing and completing. Moreover, using the appropriate tools can significantly simplify analyzing these times.

In the field of Kanban, the words lead time and cycle time are frequently applied. On the other hand, people are commonly confused while analyzing the difference between lead time and cycle time and their significance. Estimating the time required for a Kanban team to accomplish customer requests enables project managers to plan proactively and establishes customer trust. Kanban cycle time keeps track of the average duration needed to achieve any work within a project and the possibility of completing it.

While cycle time is used to evaluate your team's effectiveness, it can also be utilized to anticipate task performance. Cycle time scatter plots are an excellent visual tool for estimating task timeframes and identifying potential issues promptly. Reduced cycle times result in enhanced team efficiency, faster delivery, and improved customer satisfaction. The KMP certification course will provide you with an in-depth understanding of the Kanban Board and its use to visualize workflows.

Lead Time and Cycle Time

What Is Cycle Time in Kanban?

Cycle time starts when the new arrival gets to the “in advancement” stage. It indicates that someone is actively working on the product. The Kanban cycle time is used to determine the amount of time spent on actual work-in-progress. It keeps track of the time a task spends in each process stage. Maintaining an accurate record of your cycle times helps to assess your organization's progress. Reduced cycle times indicate that your team is effective. Increased cycle times suggest bottlenecks and backlogs. Reduced cycle times result in decreased lead times – and reduced lead times result in increased customer satisfaction.

The formula for the cycle time: - Work in Progress / Throughput = Cycle Time

To calculate cycle time, you must configure your CFD (Cumulative Flow Diagram) so that data is collected from the time new tasks are added to the "In Progress" column (activity column).

What Is Lead Time In Kanban?

The lead time is the time interval between introducing a new activity in your process and its ultimate release from the system. The lead time in Kanban is the period between when a request is initiated and when a job is completed. It is the overall time that the customer awaits the delivery of a task. Kanban teams typically utilize lead time to determine client satisfaction with their product.

However, it is more accurate to calculate lead time once a team member has engaged to the new request. This significantly improves the accuracy of the average lead time in a Kanban system. However, new tasks can remain in a waiting line for months before someone can execute them, significantly increasing the lead time.

The formula for the lead time: - Preprocessing time + Cycle time + Inspection, Delivery, and Payment time = Lead Time (LT)

To track lead time, you must configure your CFD to begin tracking data when new activities are added in the "Requested" section (waiting column).

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Difference between Lead Time and Cycle Time

Sl. No.Lead TimeCycle Time
1.Lead time can be defined as what the client experiences.Cycle time can be viewed as a more deterministic indicator of operational performance.
2.The lead time measures the rate of arrival speed.The cycle time metric indicates the rate of accomplishment.
3.A producer has a limited number of options for influencing lead time.One strategy is to manage the arrival speed through price; another strategy is to manage the cycle time by which the job is completed faster or slower than the arrival rate
4.Lead time begins with submitting a request and ends whenever the request is fulfilled or confirmed as unachievable. Essentially, it is the time required to complete a request from the time it is submitted.Cycle Time is the time interval between the start and end of an activity.
5.The lead time in Kanban is the period between when a request is placed and when a task is completed.The Kanban cycle time is used to determine the amount of time spent on actual work-in-progress.
6.To calculate Lead Time, we use the time is taken, such as hours or minutes.Cycle Time is measured in time per unit, such as minutes per user or hours per item.
7.The lead time is the total amount of time the client must wait for the specified item to be delivered.Cycle time is normally a part of lead time.
8.Lead time analyzes a business's production processes from the customer's point of view.Cycle Time is when the actual work on the product begins and when it is completed. We can conclude that cycle time is crucial mainly internally.
9.Lead time provides a complete picture of the manufacturing and sales processes.The cycle time indicates the production efficiency.
10.Lead Time is a metric used to determine throughput (Units per Period time).The cycle time is a unit of measurement for throughput (time per unit).
11.It is more of an approximated and measured value.Typically, it is an average value.
12.Lead time contributes to the improvement of production capacity and other processing efficiencies, including logistics.The cycle time can be used by management to optimize production time.
13.The only thing you need to do to determine the Lead time is to analyze the data from the position at which a request is introduced into the system (backlog), passes through the processing (in-progress), and finally reaches the level which it is completed.Determining cycle time necessitates eliminating the early phase during which the item remained in the backlog and focusing on the time following the commencement of the work.
14.Lead Time is a comprehensive description of the production process.Cycle Time is used to determine the production rate.
15.It can be utilized to increase the production rate and the rate of extra processing, including transportation and shipping.It can be used to change production times to fulfill service requirements.
16.What is Lead Time in Kanban? The term "Lead Time" refers to the operational procedures before and following the production process.What is Cycle Time in Kanban? “Cycle Time” is a metric for determining the manufacturing system's production rates.
17.Lead Time is calculated from the perception of the customer.Cycle Time is calculated from the perspective of the internal process.
18.Additionally, a consistent lead time suggests that ideas are emerging at the same rate at which the team can adopt them.A consistent cycle time shows that a team is operating consistently and is not experiencing an excessive number of disruptions.
19.The lead time is what the client perceives as the time required to resolve an issue.Cycle time is the average amount of time spent on each sub-step within the overall process that the customer perceives as lead time.


Kanban is a simplified method for developing products that are delivered consistently. In this Kanban Course Online, you will learn fundamental best practices and use a kanban board to assist your team in prioritizing more efficiently. After passing an approved multiple-choice examination, Kanban Certification validates your proven knowledge and distinctive skill in the Kanban system.

We are aware that Kanban Training is a highly complex, demanding, and overcrowded world due to Kanban programs' availability and specialty.


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