Agile Pods vs Scrum Teams

Last post 05:07 pm November 12, 2019
by Timothy Baffa
5 replies
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07:16 pm November 8, 2019

Hello!

My company is going down the Pod route and was trying to understand the difference between Pods and Scrum Teams. Anyone have any insight to clarify the two?

Thanks!

09:38 pm November 8, 2019

Hey Peter,

Check out this link below. It gives a great idea of what an Agile Pod is. In comparing the 2, there are a few key differences but they are both very similar. They are both small (less than 10), they both self-organize as far as how they will tackle their chosen work, and they both have 3 roles. 

Differences are:

  • Pods are designed by external folks based on the needs to fulfill the requirements. Scrum Teams self-organize from the ground up.
  • Pods change as needed per the requirements and skillset. Scrum Teams are cross-functional and long-lived.
  • Pods have a Pod Leader, Core Team, and Part-Time Specialists. Scrum Teams have a Product Owner, Scrum Master, and Development Team

There are more similarities and differences but I'll let you do some research on your own for that.

https://www.agileconnection.com/article/using-agile-pods-realize-potential-your-team

08:54 am November 9, 2019

Does your company know why it is choosing pods?

Is the company providing sufficient guidance without impeding the abilities of groups of people to self-organize?

11:32 am November 9, 2019

Thanks for the info and link, Curtis. I will read through it

Simon - It is what our Chief Digital Officer and a consulting firm wants to use. No other rationale was given other than let's go agile. I am going to met with one of the Pod Leaders and see what they are doing. I will post more after that meeting. Thanks!

02:07 pm November 11, 2019

I understand you may not have the authority to do so but the concept of Agile Pods, sure doesn't seem empowering to me. Agile without empowered team members is destined to fail and ultimately be a waste of potentially millions of dollars.

05:07 pm November 12, 2019

i wasn't familiar with the concept of Agile Pods before, but based on the link provided (thanks Curtis), it doesn't seem to be a wise practice.

Unless my understanding is incorrect, it promotes a traditional "plug-n-play" approach towards resources, where pods are temporarily formed based on individual skills and work requirements.   This strategy does not promote stable teams, knowledge transfer, or cross training, and reinforces single points of failure around specialization.