Timeboxing is something that is used by all of us whether we’re aware of it or not. For example, you make a schedule for your whole day where you say you’ll go for an hour-long walk. Then you’ll have breakfast for 30 minutes, then you’ll hit the shower for 20 minutes, and so on. So this is what timeboxing in agile is and whether you are at work or home or wherever whatever you decide to do is done under a decided timeframe which is known as timeboxing.
Though it is clear what timeboxing in agile is, but what is an elaborate definition of timeboxed when it comes to agile project management? Well, to simply put, it is an agreed-upon timeframe where the particular work or activity is stopped once the timeframe is up. After that, the whole process is reviewed and then determined whether the goals were met during the assigned timeframe or not. Thus as a scrum master, it is your responsibility to have a complete know-how of timeboxing and its importance. It is because scrum timebox planning is considered to be a backbone for all the scrum events. With that, it is also considered to be a key tool for concretely defining open-ended or other ambiguous tasks.
Benefits of timeboxing in Agile:
When you’re working in an agile environment, timeboxing is everything as it comes with a variety of advantages or benefits. Some of them are given below.
When you timebox a task or an event, it forces you and your team to put all their efforts into completing that particular task under the given timeframe. When the team knows what task they have to do and how much time they have to complete that task, they will be more vigilant to complete it at hand. But if the team is given free hand and no deadline is given to them, then the chances of delaying the work or becoming reluctant are great.
Increases one’s focus:
Whenever you are given a task and your boss tells you to complete whenever you feel like completing it, it is natural that distractions creep in and would force you to delay your work for the next day and so on. But if your boss is using a set timeframe, not only your productivity will increase but you’ll be more determined to meeting the end goal before the time expires.
Gives you an idea about the used resources:
Project management is all about maximizing the time and all the resources that have been spent on a project. Through timeboxing, it becomes easier for the management or even the team leader to judge how much time and effort each team member is putting in on a project to meet the overall goals. When the deadline is known, everyone will stay alert and will put in all their efforts.
Whenever a project is given to a team, every member has to pull their weight on a project and without task timeframes or sprints, it can get very difficult to find out where a project is falling. So, with timeboxing in agile, an analysis can be performed after each sprint showing where the needed deliverables stand.
A pattern is formed:
When you complete a project under the given deadline, it becomes easy for you to go through timeboxing sessions and notice the pattern(s) formed. For example, if you notice projects stall with the help of a certain software program or a team member, you can easily make adjustments for future projects or invest in the resources your team requires to get the work done effectively.
Things become more manageable:
When you have a small-scale project, it might not be that overwhelming and the chances of getting it done on time are high. But if you have a large and complex project in your hands, it is very difficult to get it done effectively. So, that is why you break that project into small sprints and then use the timeboxing method. Combining these two techniques will make things manageable for you and your team and can receive better buy-in from everyone involved.
It is natural while working on a given project, everyone involved would want to give their best. And this type of thinking to be perfect is an easy trap to fall into. The agile methodology supports the idea of creating a viable solution and then add any type of changes required as time goes by. So when everything is timeboxed, the whole team is then forced to complete the work within the allotted time. In this way, no single member would be stuck on delivering the work with perfection. Unnecessary perfectionism does more harm than good and the drive to become perfect is really harmful to everyone. But having a specialized deadline, teams will be more focused on delivering the work that has room for mistakes and iteration.
Gives the opportunity to start fresh:
Timeboxing sprint helps the team to rejuvenate, that is, it gives them the chance to start a fresh sprint and take learning into account from the last sprint and plan things again for the newsprint. This strategy gives rhythm for starting something again and with more clarity and focus.
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As you can see, when you timebox every type of project whether big or small, everyone gets alert and gives all their attention and effort toward completing that task on time. So, if you want your team to become more efficient and enjoy the above benefits, then you need to learn to timebox everything you assign them.