Dos and Don’ts of Working in Agile Pods

What is a Pod?

Agile pods are small custom agile teams, consisting of four to eight members, responsible for a single task, requirement or part of the backlog. This system helps in realizing the maximum potential of agile teams by involving members of varied expertise and specializations, providing full freedom and ownership, and anticipating the best quality output.

An agile pod is designed based on requirements, involving different levels of management, development expertise, QA and creative talent. These teams are customizable and may change according to the requirements, creating a relevant ecosystem.

Agile pod teams are designed to be self-sufficient. The team is self-organizing and works with minimum supervision creating a higher sense of ownership and maturity. Most of the required expertise is available at hand among the team. As a result, there is very minimal dependency on people outside the pod.

Following the basic rules is crucial for maintaining the spirit of agile. The process can be tweaked to suit your team’s needs though.

Dos:

  • When you decide to adopt agile pods, before the actual transition, take steps to prepare the team members by training them in that direction.
  • Make sure each team member is briefed about the process. Spending sufficient time with them to clear doubts during the onboarding period is essential.
  • When assembling the team, take care that the skill sets of members complement each other. People issues among the team members have to be considered to reduce conflicts and improve the relationship among them. Any issues must be resolved before the team moves on to a pod.
  • Get the team together periodically even if they are located globally. Get them to meet and sit together often to enhance communication levels.
  • Keep track of the ongoing process and enable discussions about what the team is learning. The situations and scenarios that were tackled better and faster because of being in a pod should be discussed.
  • Encourage an open learning environment. Pod leaders can engage in conversations on a weekly basis regarding the best practices and methods followed within a pod.
  • Leverage the maximum use of tools with inputs from the members of the pod.

Don’ts:

  • Pods are self-managing but do not expect this to happen overnight. It will take some time for pod leaders to make this style of work sink in.
  • The introduction of new tools and technology while working on a project is a bad idea. The teams should be given the liberty of choosing the processes and tools they need before the project starts.

Project managers must not impede the functioning of the pod. Micromanagement is a definite no-no. The basic premise of agile pods is to give members the freedom to choose their tasks, resolve them and deliver at their pace. They should be provided with benchmarks, and given free reign to complete their work as micromanaging will hinder the proper functioning of the pod.

Tracking the success of the pod, as in standard agile methods, must be based on the deliverables and quality rather than the defects or hours logged. There may be no or limited defects in the tracking system as the pod works so well together.

Adequate freedom must be provided to agile pods to let individuals and teams decide on a course of action, make a mistake, learn from it and deliver. It enables them to have ownership, discipline and radically change the perspective of everyone within the structure. Eventually, it leads to a change of outlook from the project managers toward their team and helps everyone to realize their actual potential.

Agile is an ever-evolving field. Businesses are on the lookout for the latest approaches to keep up with the market’s pace. If you would like a helping hand with implementing agile methodology and the formation of agile pods, please feel free to contact us. At Triassic we have substantial experience with breakthrough technology to digitally transform organizations for greater results.

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