what is a Timebox?

First you or your team have to previously prepare an agreed period of time to do work regularly towards completion of a goal. That period of time is the timebox.

Instead of allowing work to continue until the goal is reached, the timebox approach stops the work when the time limit is reached and estimate what was accomplished.

They can use a various time scales like “pomodoro technique” or “speed dating”.  The promodoro technique for example organizes personal work around 25-minute timeboxes. The speed dating is a whole different schema. It’s known for its seven-minute timeboxes.

The critical rule of timeboxed work is that work should stop at the end of the timebox, and review progress: has the goal been achieved, or if it included multiple tasks?


Timeboxed iterations are a distinctive feature of the early Agile approaches, notably Extreme Programming and Scrum, but they have an earlier history:

1988: the “timebox” is described as a cornerstone of Scott Schultz’s “Rapid Iterative Production Prototyping” approach in use at a Du Pont spin-off, Information Engineering Associates

1991: the details of the “timebox” are described at length in one chapter of James Martin’s “rapid application movement”