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The Agile Dictionary
Lead Time is a term coming from Toyota Lean Manufacturing System. In its original sense, it refers to the time elapsed between a customer order and the delivery of the order to the customer.
In the software development domain it translates into the time between the initial request (discovery of the feature or client’s request written in the Product Backlog) and the delivery of the feature. This is essentially the time that the client will have to wait until the release of the feature.
Please note that it doesn’t just take the time needed to complete the task into account but really from day 1 (added to the backlog) to delivery, meaning that i fit goes into the queue of items as 3rd priority on the list, it will be worked on in only a few weeks whereas the Lead Time counter has already started.