Know Where Does Your Time Go – A Time Catching Exercise for Agile Teams

Anuraj SL
03 December 18

Know Where Does Your Time Go – A Time Catching Exercise for Agile Teams

time management in agile

Moving on with Agile, it’s very important that the agile teams should have a clear focus on their goals.

  • Still, does it feel like you never have any time to focus?
  • There are too many meetings but you can’t convince others?
  • Do you feel like time is just disappearing and you don’t know to where?
  • Do you spend more time than you feel you should on wasteful activities?

Then you should start figuring out ‘Where Does The Time Go‘? It’s very important in creative activities, such as software development, that we get large chunks of uninterrupted time. This enables us to get into a flow and really be productive and innovative. But far too often we find we only get an hour or two here and there. When trying to motivate why something has to change it’s always good to bring data.

Thanks to Jeff for mentioning about such a simple system in his book for the Agile teams, to find out the things which really kills our time and make us less productive in terms of end results. This simple tracking system can help you do wonders with time.

First, decide on a few different categories for time. Here are some that can be normally used, but this could vary. Better you should decide on these with your team.

• Planned – The work you had planned to accomplish.
• Support – Cost of poor quality or usability.
• Critical – Unplanned work that was deemed to be critical.
Meetings – Time spent in meetings.
• Administration – Things like creating reports, time reporting, etc.

Don’t bother clearly defining exactly what each is used for from the start. You can solve these questions as they pop up. At the daily meeting, take a moment for each team member to tick the categories they worked on the previous day. The numbers don’t need to be precise, just close enough.

Compile the numbers often and wipe the chart clean.

You will now have data to motivate the things that you feel are wasteful, and you might even discover time is being spent in ways you never even suspected.


• Take this along to retrospectives to discuss value adding and non-value adding activities.
• Make it very clear to the team this is not a time tracking tool.
• Use Post-its for the categories so they can be added or removed.
• If there is something specific you want to remember you can add a Post-it under the category to remind you of it when the retrospective rolls around.
• Track the data over periods of time to see trends.

So what do you guys think about this? If you have an even better way of finding where our time goes, please feel free to mention it in the comment section.

Happy Coaching!

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