Among the different ways of organizing work, there are some methodologies that are favorites for their proposal, dynamism, and results.
Surely you have heard of or applied the SCRUM work methodology, but perhaps POD teams are not as familiar. Agile POD is a work methodology that is derived from SCRUM but with distinguishing aspects.
In this article, you’ll find tips to build teams that work with Agile POD. You’ll also learn how to plan, execute, and sustain a POD over time.
What Is a POD?
First, we need to define what POD stands for.
POD is an abbreviation for “product-oriented delivery.” This refers to a cross-functional team of business and technology professionals who work as a single unit to handle all aspects of development and maintenance.
In a POD team, isolation between group members is broken down, and the team works in a “we build it, we own it” mindset. There is no time-consuming handoff between individual teams, allowing organizations to be more agile than ever.
In summary, an Agile POD is a group of people with diverse skills who complement one another.
As mentioned, POD follows the basis of the SCRUM methodology. However, it runs multiple sprints simultaneously, unlike SCRUM, which has four consecutive sprints. An Agile POD refers to a set of guiding principles for project or software development that employs an iterative approach. SCRUM, on the other hand, is a set of rules that must be followed when developing software.
The Agile POD team is self-sufficient and cross-functional, working collaboratively to meet product requirements. An Agile POD team can have four to 10 members with a variety of skills, such as UI/UX designer, QA engineer, Full Stack developer, business analyst, etc.
Having such diverse skills, Agile POD teams build diverse solutions that seek the best, most innovative results. The focus is always on autonomy, adaptability, and flexibility to solve problems.
Planning a POD
An Agile POD Team requires people who manage a variety of IT roles. A POD consists of SCRUM Masters, Product Leads, Technical/Business Analysts, UX Designer, UI developers, Full Stack Developers, DevOps Engineers, Test Engineers, QA Engineers, Cloud Engineers, and so on.
Although specialists with different skills coexist in a POD team, it does not mean that they all have the same hierarchy. Members are grouped by their functionality team members, which consists of:
A core team: These team members are fully committed to working for their POD. They are present at all meetings, discussions, and decisions.
Part-time specialists: These team members are available as part-time resources to help different PODs with their specialized project needs. They could be working for several PODs at the same time. Examples include a UI designer, a white box tester, or an automation engineer.
A POD leader: A POD leader prioritizes work with the business management team, clarifies requirements, and periodically replenishes the backlog for upcoming projects.
To capitalize on an Agile POD team, it is important to define clear requirements and have an onboarding time for the team members. When putting team members together in a POD, keep their skills and specialization in mind. The onboarding time should be spent helping them understand the process and developing a level of understanding among themselves.
Implementing a POD
Once the team members’ roles are defined, you can start working with the Agile methodology. Be sure to define the responsibilities of each part of the team as clearly as possible. Flexibility must also be prioritized. In fact, this phase is all about flexibility.
As your teams form and begin to work, actively collect feedback so you can identify pain points and work with internal leaders to resolve them. There should be no overlap in the Agile PODs.
The execution model for a POD focuses on:
Features: Implementation features are organized in the form of autonomous and self-sustaining PODs.
Team capabilities: POD team composition and size are based on the product, application, technology complexities, and future product backlog and roadmaps.
Team distribution: The methodology facilitates collaboration between teams, especially with the popularization of remote work.
It is advantageous in nearshore models, where teams consist of developers from different regions but share the same time zone.
Below, you can download the infographic for information about the POD model and how to build more dynamic, efficient teams to take your projects to the next level:
Sustaining a POD
Multiple PODs are created as products evolve. It is critical to define specific metrics in order to sustain these PODs. Here are some to consider.
You can check the impact of your POD implementation by tracking team activity and results across several Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), such as:
- POD velocity: Measure POD against a number of story points delivered sprint by sprint.
- Sprint completion rate: Measure POD’s commitments versus completed work.
- Sprint burndown: Measure how smooth the sprint was.
Each POD should consider what went well and what could be improved. The PODs conduct their retrospective analyses independently and share findings with other PODs.
Share the lessons
Once a POD identifies areas for improvement, it should share its findings with other PODs to enable scalable continuous improvement.
Benefits of the POD Model
The primary benefits of POD-based delivery are scalability, collaboration, and efficiency.
The POD model eliminates traditional roadblocks in the software development process. By combining all required disciplines into one integrated unit, handoffs and lag time are reduced in comparison to teams where skills are segmented.
As needed, POD teams can be added and removed from projects to ensure that the right amount of resources is available for each sprint. Members from different PODs can also collaborate on different projects without disrupting the overall structure.
Because POD teams are small, communication is simplified, making it easier to foster productive relationships among team members.
Additionally, by collaborating closely with others in related disciplines, employees gain an understanding of the larger process for producing the deliverable as well as the unique needs of each discipline to achieve the goal. This improves collaboration with other team members and allows employees to consider how they can support these requirements in their work.
POD teams’ work delivers quality and value to the customer by continuously adapting to meet business objectives.
POD teams are highly productive because the process for reviewing and testing deliverables is streamlined when all necessary skill sets are housed under one roof. Because team members collaborate closely with all stakeholders, they have easy access to feedback about their contributions. This reduces the chance of bugs making it into production and allows team members to correct potential issues earlier in the process.
More companies have adopted the Agile POD method due to its dynamic logic of combining business teams with IT. Companies in different industries need fast solutions to bring quality products to market to stay ahead of the competition. The achievements with POD teams are visualized quickly, and it becomes more agile than the implementation of a SCRUM work scheme.
With the growing trend of digital services, companies are looking to adapt to these new consumer habits by digitally transforming their processes and business models. And we know that digitization and software development can be a bit costly.
If you have questions about how to build an Agile POD team or are looking for top developers at reasonable rates, contact us today!