This page describes the development process used in the T&I Incubator. During the course of the GN4-3 project, the Incubator will run a number of sequential activity cycles, each typically last six months. The Incubator team is structured to work on a number of different activities in parallel during a cycle. The Incubator has two Activity Teams (A-Teams) that work on different activities. Both A-Teams work on a same number of activities during each cycle. The development process used for this engagement is a loose implementation of the Scrum development methodology, and the roles and some terminology used in the Incubator development methodology refer to this Agile framework. In line with these practices, the A-Team works on the activities for each cycle in a series of sprints. Each sprint runs for about four weeks, during which the A-Team focuses on a specific subset of tasks. 

During an activity cycle, various artifacts are used to collect and report on the work being done. The Activity Backlog holds all tasks which can be completed for the activity. The Sprint Backlog holds a selected set of tasks from the Activity Backlog, on which the A-Team works during a specific sprint.

Each Activity is assigned a Principle Investigator (PI) who defines the content of the Activity Backlog and its priorities. The A-Team supports the PI by providing feedback to the Activity Backlog, estimating how long specific tasks will take to complete. Based on this, the PI can decide priorities for each task in the Activity Backlog and plan each individual sprint backlog accordingly. In line with Scrum methodology, the A-Team itself is responsible for planning the work in a sprint, based on the PI’s prioritised list. The PI may update, change and (re)prioritise the backlog tasks at any given time, according to newly gained insights and priorities.

A Mentor, i.e.a nominated senior A-Team member with specific expertise, is brought in on a per-activity basis to support the A-Team as a subject matter expert.

The Scrum methodology also includes a number of so called Ceremonies, that is, meetings that serve a specific function. In the Incubator development methodology, the following meetings are defined and periodically take place: 

  • Activity Backlog Planning Meetings are held by the PI in collaboration with the A-Team to ensure that the tasks on the Activity Backlog are well described and understood. In addition the tasks are assigned a number of points to indicate the (relative) amount of work needed. This is done for both the stories and the epics. Estimating effort for epics is indicative, but should give a rough idea of how much work each one entails.
  • Sprint Planning Meetings, where the A-Team discusses the top tasks on the Activity Backlog and decides which ones to engage with in the upcoming sprint, and which are included in the Sprint Backlog. 
  • Sprint Retrospectives are held by the A-team to evaluate the processes of the past sprint and discuss improvements.
  • Sprint Demos  are open to a wider stakeholder audience. Their objective is to showcase the work done by the A-Team in the sprint that was just completed and allow the PI, Mentors, MIB and other stakeholders to learn about its results, ask questions and provide feedback. 

Figure 1 shows the various actors, artifacts and ceremonies in the Trust and Identity Incubator development process.

Figure 1: Actors, artifacts and ceremonies in the Trust and Identity Incubator development process

Roles and Responsibilities

This section describes the roles and responsibilities of various actors in the context of planning and executing the sprints.

Principal Investigator (Magnum PI)

The Principal Investigator is the person mainly responsible for defining and prioritizing work tasks. The PI is clear on the goals of the Activity and represents the stakeholders, e.g. the customer, market or organisations. The PI is responsible for the Backlog and makes sure it is filled and the tasks are understood.

Activity Team (A-Team)

The members of the A-Team engage with tasks within an activity. A-Team members have various skills and expertise that are needed to fulfill the tasks for the Activity. The A-Team selects which tasks they work on from the Sprint Backlog, based on the amount of work involved and the priorities set by the PI.
During a sprint, the team work on tasks in the Sprint Backlog. The A-team demonstrates the results of a completed sprint in the Sprint Demo.

Scrum Master

The Scrum Master supports an activity by facilitating task communication, organising meetings and allocating resources. The Master’s main task is to deal with any organisational overhead and resolve impediments, so that the A-Team and PI are free to focus on their work.


The Mentor is an experienced advisor who helps the PI to plan the product and upcoming work and provides subject matter expertise to the A-team.

Main Incubator Board (MIB)

Within the Incubator development process, the MIB replaces the Customer in Scrum terms. During the monthly Sprint Demo, A-Teams present the newly created product increment to the members of the MIB, among other participants. The MIB provides feedback to the teams and especially to the PIs to suggest product improvements within the next Sprint.


This section describes the ceremonies and artifacts in more detail.

Backlog Planning

The Scrum Master, Mentor (optional) and PI meet at the start of each Sprint to discuss the remaining work to be achieved within an Activity. New work tasks that were discovered will be added to the Activity Backlog as well as any remaining tasks from the last Sprint Backlog. The combined set of tasks is then (re)prioritized.

Actors: PI, Scrum Master, (Mentor)
Input: Trello Template
Output: Activity Backlog (Trello)

Sprint Retrospective and Planning

Before the A-Team prepares the next Sprint,  both the success stories and problems of the last Sprint are reviewed. These lessons learned are taken into account towards improving  the process, implementation and communication, which enables the team to continually strengthen their collaboration.

The Activity Backlog is used to prepare the Sprint Backlog. This is done by the A-Team in collaboration with the PI and the Scrum Master. The purpose is to plan the work for the upcoming sprint. The team jointly estimates how much work a specific task on the Activity Backlog will involve.
Each team member must estimate the amount of time they will contribute to the activity during the Sprint. Since internal, non-project-related tasks may reduce the average time team members can make available to an activity, it is important that a realistic assessment of this is provided during planning.
The team evaluates the remaining Activity Backlog and distributes  work tasks among the team according to the working time available for the Sprint.

Actors: PI, Mentor, Scrum Master, A-Team
Input: Activity Backlog, Estimated FTE, Feedback from MIB Sprint Demo
Output: Sprint Backlog (Trello) consisting of assigned action tasks (Trello cards)


The A-Team implements the agreed Sprint Backlog over the course of a Sprint.

Actors: A-Team
Input: Action tasks (Trello cards)
Output: Result (e.g. Software Release, Concept, Business Plan, ...)

Weekly Standup Meeting

The team meets once a week for a short meeting to report work done, work for the next week and impediments.

Actors: Scrum Master, PI, A-Team
Input: Trello cards
Output: Impediments, Project Status Report, Add dates to calendar in confluence

Sprint Demo

The A-Team (at least one representative) presents the Sprint results to the MIB and any other stakeholders, who provide feedback to be potentially  used for the next Sprint. The Sprint Demo takes place for all activities at once. A Sprint Demo is a public event and is open to anybody.
From a project perspective, a Sprint Demo may be accompanied by an all-hands project team meeting (not open to public).

Actors: A-Team, Scrum Master, Stakeholders
Input: Sprint Results (e.g. Software Release, Concept, Business Plan, ...)
Output: Feedback

Meeting Overview






Sprint Planning
including Sprint Retrospective

30 min / activity
30 min



PI., A-Team, Mentor, Scrum Master

Weekly Standup Meeting

30 min



A-Team, (Mentor), Scrum Master, (PI)

Sprint Demo &  Review

10 min / activity



PI, A-Team, MIB, Stakeholders

All-Hands Meeting

60 min

3 / Cycle


PIs, A-Team, Scrum Master

  • No labels