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What Is Sprint Planning Timebox?

A timebox is a fixed period of time when a person or a team works towards an agreed goal. Agile project management uses timeboxing to keep work moving fast and on schedule. It is also a critical component of Scrum. A sprint planning timebox is the allocated time set aside to plan an upcoming spring, including story points, team capacity, risk and impediments, and more.  

Timeboxing was first referenced towards the end of the 1980s in the context of “Rapid Iterative Production Prototyping” techniques and explained in more detail in James Martin’s “Rapid Application Development” book published in 1991.

Timeboxing in Scrum

Every event in Scrum is timeboxed. Below are some examples for each, bearing in mind that every Scrum project is planned differently, and therefore different periods of time apply.

Sprint - Between 1 and 4 weeks

Sprint Planning - 2 hours for each week in a Sprint

Daily Scrum - 15 minutes

Sprint Review - 2 to 4 hours

Sprint Retrospective - 60 to 90 minutes

Further reading

What Is an Agile Scrum Master?

blog post

What Are the 5 Scrum Values?

blog post

How To Get the Most Out of Stand Up Meetings

blog post

What Are the 3 Artifacts of Scrum?

Sprint planning timebox

Here is an example: if a sprint is four weeks long then the sprint planning session should be timeboxed at eight hours — two hours for each week. 

Below is how a Scrum master may set the agenda for an all-day sprint planning session:

  • Recap of the current sprint, closing off what was completed
  • Review and re-prioritize what wasn’t completed, re-estimating story points and the team capacity
  • Agree and finalize goals of the upcoming sprint
  • Discuss risks and confidence levels