Effectivesness of timeboxing in SCRUM

October 29, 2013

Time-Boxing and its effectiveness

A given task can be completed in one of two ways:

1)      You dive straight ahead into the task and complete it with no regards to time and effort spent

2)      The alternative can be, you dedicate a certain amount of time for the task and try to achieve the maximum possible in the given time.

The second option stated is known as “time boxing”

This concept in Scrum is an important aspect for success. In absence of time-boxing , we usually tend to work on a process with too much overhead and low velocity.

It is hence recommended to use time boxing from the first day on a project to ensure that team achieves its maximum effectiveness.

The basis for this time boxing is that if a task is not completed in the allocated time, we go on to the next task. But this depends on the significance of the current and subsequent tasks and also requires us to see what the reasons for not completing the task in time.

Basically , time boxing is considered in order to inculcate a sense of determination and to intimidate the team to emphasis their efforts in order to complete a task.

Time-boxing is documented to show that it can help a team improve its effectiveness and productivity. It ensures that the work is done with more focus as there is a requirement to complete the task in the given time. Thus it helps in better time management.

Time-boxing helps as an effective form of risk management by averting the unnecessary effort or expense required on a task which may delay achieving the deadline.

Time allocated in time boxing should not be too small or too large. Time boxing too small doesn’t  allow for significant amount of work to be done and when it is too large then the team loses focus.

Processes in Scrum make effective use of time boxing. For instance the daily stand up meeting is time boxed to 15 minutes.

Time boxing is considered to be useful in order to understand and monitor the progress of the project. We can also monitor the actual time spent on the task and the time allocated to complete the same.

Listed below are few advantages of Time-Boxing:

  • Ensures team is focused on important tasks
  • Increases effectiveness and productivity
  • Helps to prevent excessive effort and expense
  • Helps in management of risk and time.
  • Tracks the progress of the project
  • Aids in  managing complexity

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