Once I used timeboxes by default. Now I relegate Sprints and such like to exception situations.
I used to timebox everything in the way that Scrum, XP and DSDM do. This, for example, strongly influenced my posts on Agile Planning.
I do, however, sometimes set a timebox to limit the cost.
In one recent example I gave a developer (Tum) three weeks to do a proof of concept (POC). He could work where he wanted, what times he wanted, and using whatever approach he wanted. I only imposed two conditions:
- I wanted to see progress half way through
- The POC was done at the end of three weeks regardless
Tum did a brilliant job. He worked all night and worked from home because that suited him. This was good for both of us because at the end of three weeks Tum’s POC was a WOW!
I wanted a POC not a product so the timebox was good for both of us. It limited the amount of features and/or polishing Tum could do. For a product I’d use a different approach.