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In this blog post I would like to explain basics of Timebox

  • What is a Timebox

  • What are the different kinds of Timeboxes

  • Are Timeboxes related to each other

  • What happens when a Timebox is deleted


What is a Timebox

Anything that can provide a due date to a Task type is called a Timebox. You can think of it as a Time range of 1 up to N days.

What are the different kinds of Timeboxes in SAP Cloud ALM

SAP Cloud ALM provides three different kinds of Timeboxes

  • Phase

  • Sprint

  • Milestone


The list of phases in SAP Cloud ALM is provided by SAP Activate methodology. The supported phases in SAP Cloud ALM are

  • Prepare

  • Explore

  • Realize

  • Deploy

  • Run

Each of these phases has a start date and an end date. The list of phases is fixed. You can not add or delete a phase. This is to ensure that implemented Projects use terms consistent with Activate methodology.

Note: Phase had only one date maintained in SAP Cloud ALM previously. After latest change , the phase has now both start and end dates. You should revisit the Phase dates to ensure they are in line with your Project Plan and expectations.


With the latest update , you can now optionally create a sprint plan.

you can add or delete sprints easily. After creating a sprint plan , you can use this to assign due dates for tasks and user stories. The sprint automatically shows in the Past section after the due date for the sprint has passed.


Milestone is a special timebox with only an end date.

You can add or delete milestones.

When you add more milestones , they get automatically sorted in a chronological order i.e. according to the due dates of the milestones.


How to use Timeboxes

Timeboxes help you plan your Project in lower level of granularity. You can use the timeboxes to assign precise dates to tasks and user stories.

Another advantage is dynamic date assignment. Example if you assign 100 tasks to a timebox such as "Integration test". If the milestone date for "Integration Test" is changed , the due date of all tasks assigned to the milestone is changed automatically.


How Timeboxes Relate to each other

Timeboxes can work independent of each other or with each other. You as a customer have a choice to decide how you work.

Phase has special status

The Phase time box has a special status. It is used as fall back for sprint or milestone. Also tasks assigned to sprint or milestone try to find the matching phase and if the match is found then phase information is shown as sub-header in the task list

Should you align your sprint dates to your phases

Sprints exist directly at Project level. Aligning sprint dates to phase dates is not mandatory but highly recommended. System tries to determine the matching phase based on the sprint dates. The end date of the sprint is considered and system tries to determine from the end date of the sprint, what is the matching phase. if a matching phase is found , its shown as sub-header as in screenshot above and the filters for phase will also find tasks assigned to sprints which can be matched to the phase.

In case you maintain sprints in no relation to the phase , you will not get a nice experience using Timebox filters for phase.

If you are a customer who works in continuous delivery , that is if you do not use the term phase at all , in that case we would recommend you model just one phase as an example  "Prepare" and map all your sprints to the Run phase

What happens if I change the due date manually after Timebox assignment

The advantage of using timeboxes is tasks get automatic updates when the dates of Timebox are changed. As task is in a way "locked" to timebox when the initial assignment happens.

But in case you assign a task to the timebox and later change the due date manually, in this case the task is in a way "unlocked". This means it still shows related to the timebox but can have a due date which can be outside the range of a timebox.

Let's take an example

Let us assume your Explore phase ends Mar 31 and Realize phase starts 1st April. You have a task

Handover of Requirements to Analytics Expert which is assigned to Explore phase . The task gets a due date of Mar 31 automatically. If the task is delayed and the person sets the due date manually to Apr 5, the task still remains as belonging to Explore phase but having a due date outside of the phase dates

What happens if a Timebox is deleted

When you delete a timebox, as an example a milestone, the due date of the task or user story is retained and system tries to determine the matching phase as a fall back.


Next Steps

Hope you found this information useful. You can visit the link below that contains other blog posts in one central place for Project and Task management in SAP Cloud ALM
Project and Task Management capabilities-Master List

For latest updates and notifications you can follow me by clicking  jagmohansingh.chawla

All the best in your journey.