Why it’s important to finish work within the Sprint timebox
Applying Agile is not only a process implementation. It’s more understanding human behavior and changing mind-sets per Agile principles and values. Most organizations use Scrum, out of all the Agile methods. Scrum is timeboxed and motivates team members to complete work within the timeboxes. The result is a productivity increase that can’t be ignored.
Several teams I’ve worked with wondered why it’s important to finish work within the Sprint timebox. Here are 3 of the main benefits:
- Team focus
Software development teams that process work in a just-in-time manner often find a lack of focus. The Sprint container is a way to provide enough room for the creative work software developers. Basically, time must be provided for developers to focus instead of worrying about the next piece of work they must pull in order to decrease cycle times.
- Useful breaks
Break time is a fundamental ingredient to innovation. Healthy Scrum teams have breaks by pulling a little less work than there is capacity for work to be done. When developers are working ticket to ticket in a continuous flow model, breaks are considered waste and teams will strive to eliminate them, along with the team innovation.
- Inspection and adaptation
When teams stop observing Sprint boundaries for the work they do, they often begin to drop the ceremonies of Scrum that made them successful in the first place: Sprint Planning, Sprint Review, and Sprint Retrospectives. Each of these events inspects something and adapts something and when we stop doing them, improvements we’ve made in the past begin to fade away. These events from Scrum are the backbone of team improvement and ongoing excellence. Losing them will immediately begin to affect the improvements they introduced.
Timeboxing is not only important in Scrum, it’s also important in our day-to-day work. Here are some examples:
- If a project manager or any other role is distributed in two or three projects, the best way to gain productivity and avoid waste due to multitasking is to timebox the activities with respect to each project on a daily or weekly basis.
- In education, almost every institute has its own set of timeboxes to complete the course and take the exams.
At the end, we can conclude that timeboxing plays an important role in managing the work in sprints, as well as motivating teams to finish work on time. Don’t you think?