Time-boxing in Scrum

December 16, 2013

Time-boxing is a technique to limit the time spent to accomplish a task. A fixed amount of time is allocated to complete each process and activity in a scrum project. After the allocated time is over the task or goal is either accomplished or incomplete, but the time cannot be extended.

Why Time-boxing?

Time-boxing ensures that Scrum Team members do not take up too much or too little work for a particular period of time and do not expend their time and energy on work for which they have little clarity. Time-boxing is a technique for Risk Management which helps in identifying uncertain task/time relationships, i.e., tasks that may extend beyond its deadline. Scrum treats time as one of the most important constraints in managing a project. Scrum involves several short meetings (Sprint planning, Daily Scrum, Sprint Review and Sprint Retrospective).  In the Conduct Daily Standup process, the duration of the Daily Standup Meeting is Time-boxed. If these meetings are not boxed, there is a high risk that these meetings would become general discussions and consume considerable amounts of time and energy from all participants. Time-boxing is a critical practice in Scrum and should be applied with care. Arbitrary Time-boxing can lead to de-motivation of the team and may have the consequence of creating an apprehensive environment, so it should be used appropriately.

Some of the advantages of Time-boxing are as follows:

  • Efficient development process
  • Less overheads
  • High velocity for teams

Scrum Time-boxes:

Sprint: To get maximum benefits from a Scrum project, it is always recommended to keep the Sprint Time-boxed to 4 weeks, unless there are projects with very stable requirements, where Sprints can extend up to 6 weeks.

Daily Standup Meeting: The daily standup meeting should not exceed 15 minutes. The team members discuss the following:

a) What did I complete yesterday?

b) What will I complete today?

c) What impediments or obstacles (if any) am I currently facing?

Sprint Planning Meeting: The sprint planning is Time-boxed to 8 hours for a one month Sprint. During this meeting the PO explains the Product Backlog items to the Scrum Team based on the priority. Tthe Scrum Team decides “how” to complete the selected Prioritized Product Backlog Items to fulfill the Sprint goal.

Sprint Review Meeting: During the Sprint Review Meeting the Scrum Team presents the sprint output to the PO, who then reviews the deliverables and accepts or rejects based on Acceptance Criteria.

The Sprint Review Meeting is Time-boxed to four hours for a one-month Sprint.

Retrospect Sprint Meeting: The Retrospect Sprint Meeting is Time-boxed to 4 hours for a one-month Sprint and conducted as part of the Retrospect Sprint process. During this meeting, the Scrum Team gets together to review on the previous Sprint and discuss on the mistakes committed, improvement opportunities and challenges faced during the sprint.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


seven + 7 =


Follow Us On

Post-Plugin Library missing