A fixed-length period of time during which an activity is performed. In Scrum, sprints are timeboxed iterations where a team works at a sustainable pace to complete a chosen, WIP-limited set of work.

Also a Scrum timebox, a sprint, sometimes referred to as an iteration, is timeboxed to usually two weeks, but can vary depending on the team. A sprint is the time cycle when the product is designed, coded and tested and potentially shipped or delivered. Development begins on the first day of the Sprint and ends on the last day and hopefully all of the work has been completed. If not, the unfinished work is re-prioritized for a future sprint.

Temporal Motivation Theory formula

Motivation = the desire for a particular outcome
Expectancy = the probability of success
Value = the reward associated with the outcome
Impulsiveness = the individual’s sensitivity to delay

To see how the Temporal Motivation Theory can be applied in an example, consider a student given one month to study for a final exam. The student is given two options: studying and socializing. The student enjoys socializing but needs to achieve a good grade. The reward of studying is not immediate, thus at the beginning of the student’s study period, the motivation to study is lower than the motivation to socialize. However, as the study period diminishes from several weeks to several days, the motivation to study will surpass the motivation to socialize.

That’s the reason why working in timeboxes increases team motivation, hence the productivity. So selecting the proper timebox is one of the keys to success.

Timebox Duration
Sprint 30 days
Sprint Planning Meeting 8 hours or less
Daily Scrum 15 minutes or less
Sprint Review 4 hours or less
Sprint Retrospective 3 hours or less

Sources: Scrum Alliance, Benday and Scrum Guide