Spikes are an exploration of potential solutions for work or research items that cannot be estimated. They should be time-boxed in short increments (2-3 days).
Since all work has some amount of uncertainty and risk, spikes should be used infrequently when the team has no idea on how to proceed with a work item. They should result in information that can be used to better refine work into something valuable, for some iteration in the future.
Spikes should follow a Definition of Done, with acceptance criteria, that can be demoed at the end of its timebox.
A spike should have a definite timebox, usually within 1-3 days. At the end of this timebox, the team should be able to decide how, when, and even if the work can be considered for upcoming iterations.
- Use spikes sparingly, only when high uncertainty exists.
- Spikes should be focused on discovery and experimentation.
- Stay within the parameters of the spike. Anything else is considered a waste.