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The Rapid Learning Cycles Framework: A Repeatable Adaptation of Agile Development for Tangible Products

308 SW 2nd Ave Fifth Floor
Portland, OR 97204, US (map)
Public WiFi

Networking at 6:30 with pizza, pop, beer; Presentation begins at 7pm.



Katherine Radeka walks us through how the Rapid Learning Cycles framework has emerged as a repeatable method for adopting Agile Development practices for tangible products. It overcomes many of the challenges that companies have had when they have tried to adopt Agile Development, by addressing the mismatches between the software / IT development environment and the challenges faced by scientists and engineers when the product involves physics, chemistry and/or biology.

The Rapid Learning Cycles framework is a synthesis of Agile Development and Lean Product Development practices that works within a company's existing phase gate PDP. It is concrete and actionable for program managers, technical leads and their sponsors so that they can use the framework with confidence after a small amount of training and coaching.

Teams that use the Rapid Learning Cycles framework exhibit the desired changes that people want from Agile Development: fast cycles of development, early engagement from customers and other stakeholders, the ability to respond to change in a dynamic environment, and adapt as new information develops.

They also build scientific knowledge to make better decisions instead of running through build-test-fix loops, capture knowledge real-time instead of reinventing solutions, and make better decisions up front instead of getting stuck with late-found defects and schedule delays.

Session Learning Objectives:

1) What the Rapid Learning Cycles framework is, and how it fits in with Agile Development.

2) What practices from Agile Development get used in the Rapid Learning Cycles framework.

3) What makes the Rapid Learning Cycles framework spread within a product development organization, even one that is resistant to Agile, or seems to be a poor fit.


Katherine Radeka has a rare combination of business acumen, scientific depth and ability to untangle the organizational knots to remove the barriers to change. Since 2005, Whittier Consulting Group, Inc. has helped some of the world's leading companies get their products to market faster. She currently supports more than 100 active implementations of the Rapid Learning Cycles framework through the Rapid Learning Cycles Institute (rapidlearningcycles.com)

Katherine is the author of two books. Her first book, The Mastery of Innovation: A Field Guide to Lean Product Development won the Shingo Research Award in 2014. This book contains 19 case studies of companies who have used lean product development to get their ideas to market faster.

Katherine's second book is The Shortest Distance Between You and Your New Product: How Innovators Use Rapid Learning Cycles to Get Their Best Ideas to Market Faster. This book summarizes Katherine's ground-breaking work to integrate Agile Development and Lean Product Development into the Rapid Learning Cycles Framework, a proven method for accelerating innovation.

Katherine has climbed seven of the tallest peaks in the Cascade Mountains and spent ten days alone on the Pacific Crest Trail until an encounter with a bear convinced her that she needed a change in strategic direction.