Time-boxing is a feature of software development technology that plans and allots time boxes for different activities. Time-boxing enables separation of different time boxes for various tasks and processes within a project along with their own deliverables, budget and deadline. The idea behind time boxing is to set a fixed time limit to a certain activity in order to generate focus sharply on the expected outcomes from that particular activity.
Time-boxing in agile projects:
In Agile projects, time-boxing is extended to development to meetings and in all other focus areas of the projects. Every iteration is a time-box in agile development projects. Example of time-boxing in agile projects can be fixed 15 minutes time-box for daily stand-up meetings and so on. This time-box can exceed as well as decrease as per the requirements.
Practices of Time-boxing technique:
- Time-box can be of any duration – years, months or days.
- The level of control that includes defining expected outcomes, comparing expected and actual outcome etc. is exercised at the lowest level of time-box.
- When everything that was planned to be done within a time-box cannot be accomplished, it can be deferred to the next time-box.
- The length of the iteration and plan for working is fixed as much as can be accommodated within that iteration.
Advantages of Time-boxing technique:
- Time-boxing enables focus generation on the task at hand. Within a time-box distractions can be prevented and also as un-divided attention is fixed for each task there is more possibility of progress.
- It tends to drive productivity. People tend to work hard and smart towards achieving the goal of the task as they are aware of the deadline. It defeats tendencies such as the Parkinson’s Law that says work expands so as to occupy the time available to complete it or the Student’s syndrome that says people will start to fully apply themselves to a tasks only at the last possible moment before a deadline.
- Time-box enables realization of the amount of time that was actually spent on a particular activity.
- As time is always limited and the limit is known one can avoid “analysis paralysis”, i.e. spending too much time on analysis.
MoSCoW - Prioritizing Requirements in Agile Projects
As iterations are time-boxed in agile projects, the importance of identifying prior requirements of each activity within a project increases. One of the popular categorization for representing prior requirements used by most agile practitioners in agile projects is MoSCoW. The MoSCoW terminology suggests that categorization of a project should be made as per the level of requirement such as Must (M), Should (S), Could (C) or Won’t (W). The MoSCoW prioritization of requirements is the tool behind usage of time-box towards successful completion of agile projects. Know more about Agile practices by joining
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