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EBM: Ability to Innovate vs Time to Market

Last post 02:01 pm May 5, 2023 by Nicholas Gabrichidze
5 replies
03:28 pm May 4, 2023

Hello all,

I've read the EBM guide and the examples of measures at the end of it.

I do not get the difference between Ability to Innovate and Time to Market. In my humble, they are very similar, connected/linked and related. For me they actually could be thought of the same Key Value Area.

Thank you very much in advance!

03:42 pm May 4, 2023

Time to Market is, as I understand it, is very similar lead time and cycle time. It's about how fast you are delivering something of value, either from identifying it (lead time) or starting it (cycle time). Time to Market also includes measures of feedback loops, though, such as how long it takes you to get and act on feedback. I see this as including anything that is valuable, which may not be new capabilities or innovations.

Ability to Innovate is how much of your time is spent on delivering new capabilities. There are plenty of delivery activities that aren't new capabilities but are still valuable. When building physical products, there are activities around obsolete parts. In software, there is work to pay down technical debt and to keep your tools and technologies up to date. These are valuable, but not innovative. Ability to Innovate looks at how much of your time is spent doing these maintenance-type activities (which may include fixing defects in your work) as compared to delivering desired features, functionality, and capabilities to customers and users.

The only relationship that I see is that they are related to the organization's processes. You can improve Time to Market without improving your Ability to Innovate, which would mean you can complete your maintenance activities faster. You can also spend more time on new capabilities and innovations, but not deliver them to customers and users any faster.

03:49 pm May 4, 2023

Personally I am always brining things to the basic(especially considering the Scrum can be applied to any side of life) 

Imagine you are street vendor selling the own artisan crafted items, for example jewellery bracelets and neckless at the next city. You are using the public bus, which goes around for two hours to get there.

What you get from this business is a current value

You are not happy with your revenue, and particularly volume of sales. The items run out very fast and you spend half a day going there and back

You may consider buying 3 D printer and getting more jewellery made for each selling day. In a nutshell this is ability to innovate. It means there is a leverage for inovating your product or process and increase value

Or you can buy the car, and bring the items to the market yourself, few times a day instead of waiting for a bus. Thats time to the market. It means that you decreasing the time between release of your product and its availability to be purchased by the customer

Many customers asking you if you also have earrings of the same style. You don't, but then you begin to estimate how much more you would earn, if you would actually make earrings and sell them too

Thats unrealized value


12:30 pm May 5, 2023

Thank you all for your answers, I really appreciate that!


Let's start from the EBM definitions:

Time-to-Market (T2M) The organization’s ability to quickly deliver new capabilities, services, or products

Ability to Innovate (A2I) The effectiveness of an organization to deliver new capabilities that might better meet customer needs

As I understand it: 

- T2M is time or everything else impacting this time to go to market

- A2I is about "are we really meeting customer needs?" (something we measure after we are on the market). 


But, in the EBM Guide, an example of A2I is Time Spent Merging Code Between Branches, one of T2M is Cycle Time. The higher the first, the higher will be the latter.

The same team members could work on new features as well as fixing an existing bug. If they are two different times, they are related as they would influence each other (if the same person works at any point of time on a bug and on a feature).

So I am probably missing something here. Maybe, when we talk about Cycle Time or Lead Time, we never take into account bugs?



Should T2M measures only be "time based measures"?

02:01 pm May 5, 2023

No, in my opinion, T2M is not time but rather the loss of value which is caused by the time buffer between releasing the increment and its availability for the end user.

The actual obstacle which is preventing the hypothetical immediate availability of the increment or whole product to the end user can measured in any metrics; but in the end any of those metrics can be converted in time, and what's matters is not time itself, but a negative value which this time causes.

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