RLC basics

Stuck developing average products for average customers?

Get unstuck with Rapid Learning Cycles.

The RLC framework is a new approach that helps you bring your best ideas to life faster. Based on ground-breaking work by Katherine Radeka and proven in a variety of industries, the framework focuses developers on early learning and decisions to avoid mid-project disruptions and rework.

Learn first, then decide

Sounds simple, right? But look at how your teams make project decisions today.  They believe they have to freeze decisions early to avoid mid-project changes. But those decisions are often based on incomplete information.  As developers learn more they have to correct their frozen decisions, disrupting schedules and budgets. By contrast, the RLC framework starts with learning and makes decisions later.

Learn with a plan

RLC teams kick off a project by identifying the key decisions they’ll need to make–the ones with high uncertainty and impact. Then they define knowledge gaps they need to fill in order to make decisions with greater confidence.

Learn on a schedule

Teams develop a learning plan based on the sequence in which key decisions have to be made and the knowledge gaps they need to close.  They close the knowledge gaps  in short learning cycles on a fixed cadence.  At the end of each cycle, they capture what was learned, and plan their next cycle.  These cadenced cycles quickly surface problems and trigger needed adjustments to the plan.

Dovetail with agile software

Most companies today practice agile software development, but struggle to apply agile methods to hardware projects. RLC methods are not traditional agile, but developers can easily dovetail their work with agile software development by synchronizing the RLC learning cycle cadence with software sprints.

Reuse learning

A side benefit of RLC methods is that engineers keep an archive of their learning and decisions to use in future projects. One-page learning cycle and key decision reports are integral to the framework and capture what was learned in a concise format to avoid re-inventing the wheel on the next project

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