Boxing Clever: Timeboxing


Following on from our previous post; Prioritising Agile Requirements: Timeboxing, we now take an overview of what you need to know about Timeboxing and the 2 main Timeboxing options.

Timeboxing: What you need to know

  • Technique used for delivering functionality, or a solution, within a set period of time.
  • Provides confidence in meeting the delivery of the most important functionality set out in the prioritised requirements.
  • Works in conjunction with Iterative Development
  • A fixed period of time (days, weeks) to deliver working functionality. Based on the belief that it’s better to have a working system with limited functionality, than to wait for years to have a complete system.
  • Whilst durations can be longer or shorter, the typical length of a Timebox is between 2 and 4 weeks.

Timeboxing within DSDM® Agile projects

  • Timeboxing is used in combination with the MoSCoW prioritisation technique to ensure on-time delivery of the most important functionality.
  • Timeboxes allow the project team to remain focused and measure progress/success more frequently.
  • Provides an early warning of problems and an early opportunity to address the problems.

The 2 Main Options

Every Timebox starts with a kick-off and ends with a close-out.  Beyond this, DSDM® recognises 2 styles of Timebox:

  1. The DSDM® structured Timebox consists of 3 main steps: Investigation, Refinement and Consolidation.

DSDM structured timebox

DSDM® is a registered trademark of Dynamic Systems Development Method Ltd in the UK and other countries.

  1. The Free Format Timebox is relatively new in comparison to the Structured Timebox and DSDM® place no preference on which is used. The Free Format Timebox is seen as useful in bridging the gap between DSDM® and other Agile frameworks such as Scrum Sprint.

Free Format Timebox

DSDM® is a registered trademark of Dynamic Systems Development Method Ltd in the UK and other countries.

5 final points worth remembering:

  1. Keep the team’s focus on the smaller subset of the solution within the context of the big picture during any one Timebox.
  2. Ensure requirements/user stories remain the focus (rather than tasks).
  3. Ensure acceptance criteria has been fully reasoned by the Business Ambassador and the Solution Development Tester.
  4. Identify and agree acceptance criteria for deliverables early in the Timebox.
  5. Continually review throughout each phase of the Timebox for early identification of problems.




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