What are Time-Boxed Events in Scrum?

Nevo Alva
Nevo Alva
CEO, Acumen
Posted on
Jan 31, 2022
Updated on
Mar 26, 2023
Table of Content

For many businesses and organizations, meetings and events are an everyday affair. From the C-suite to floor staff, everyone takes them seriously, but these gatherings rarely start or end on time. 

Whether it's being punctual or effectively covering every item on the agenda, most meeting organizers lack time management abilities. 

And when the start time fluctuates, attendees are more likely to be late, or they might stop attending altogether. It shows that the presenters don't respect everyone's time and are not competent or professional. 

If you are an organizer who finds it challenging to get everyone to show up and start on time, there is a solution. You need to set up time-boxed events in the scrum to ensure all your meetings are well-managed and goal-oriented.

What is Time Boxing?

This practice involves allocating a fixed time limit for an activity – the selected time frame is called a timebox. It can help you manage time for every task explicitly defined within the time frame, stopping you from spending more than the required duration. 

This feature is vital for project managers and Scrum Masters because it helps them maintain strict timelines. 

How to Time-Box Events in Scrum

Scrum is a framework that helps teams to work together in harmony. Teams learn through experience, self-organization, and reflecting on winning or losing to improve performance in the scrum. You can also timebox events and meetings using the scrum framework. There are several online scrum tools to help you keep track of the time during multiple events. In scrum time-boxing, the event automatically ends when you achieve the objective or when the time limit is up.

There are five types of scrum timeboxed events:

1. Sprint timebox

This is where time boxing measures the length of the sprint. The team must deliver sprint goals within the specified limit, which is usually a month or less.

2. Sprint Planning timebox

Sprint planning meetings last for 8 hours maximum. This is where you plan, implement, review, and retrospect. Meeting duration depends on the time it takes to complete a sprint. For example, if the sprint is short (one week), the allotted meeting time (two-hour time-box) will be shorter.

3. Daily Scrum timebox

Daily scrum timebox is for organizing 15 minutes meetings in 24 hours for team briefings, focusing on the goal's progress.

4. Sprint Review time box

The sprint review time-box is one month, but its meeting time is four hours daily. In sprint review, you demonstrate or inspect backlog items delivered. In this meeting, you also discuss backlog items and apply previously given feedback.

5. Sprint Retrospective timebox

Sprint retrospective time-box allots three hours or less for a one-month sprint. This meeting session aims to conduct self-analysis to note limitations and weak points. Then it's the team's job to implement them in the next sprint.

Benefits of Time-Boxing in Scrum

Using scrum time-boxing has multiple benefits apart from time management. You can check them out below:

Increases Focus

Time-boxing improves focus, which results in increased productivity. The goal-oriented time compels everyone to focus solely on the task at hand (sprint).

Teaches Task Prioritization

When you have limited time to get things done, it creates an urgency to prioritize the tasks, so they are all covered. As the team has a small time frame, they should prioritize by deciding which item must be delivered within the limited time. This way, every task is prioritized according to its importance.

Enforces Transparency

Every deliverable is checked for completion at the end of the time-box, bringing transparency to the processes. This practice helps the team and stakeholders objectively review every deliverable. This system effectively beats the old development system that would postpone the product demo, pushing the deadline further.

To Conclude

It is essential for corporate and project management teams to use scrum time-boxing. This should help them keep a timely track of tasks and maintain deadlines. Moreover, it ensures that every team meeting starts and ends within the given timeframe. 

About the author

Nevo Alva
CEO, Acumen

I’m an agile enthusiast, a strong believer in people, experimentation and continuous learning and improvement. Strong entrepreneurial background, currently co-founder and CEO of Acumen (creator of GoRetro), prior to Acumen I was the co-founder and CEO of Visualead (acquired by Alibaba Group). I served for 8 years in the IAF, known for its best retrospective and debriefing process in the world. Did my MBA in management of technology, entrepreneurship and innovation, in Tel Aviv university‍

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