June 27, 2023 4 min read

Why Canopy’s Product Team Works in PODs

Why Canopy’s Product Team Works In PODs

As startups grow and mature, they must adapt to changing needs by exploring new methods and adopting new systems. That time came at the end of last year for the Canopy team.

The Canopy Team
Fintech Contributing Author
At Canopy, we recently restructured our fast-growing engineering, product, and design teams into three cross-functional PODs. Within the new structure, each group is focused on growth, policy, or platform to better focus our skills and serve our clients across the fintech industry.

What’s a POD?

For anyone unfamiliar, POD stands for Product Oriented Delivery. The POD model is an agile and iterative approach to software development that focuses on creating small, self-sufficient teams responsible for specific tasks or requirements within a project.
“We have a team of product-minded engineers,” says , Canopy’s VP of Engineering. “We’ve grown our engineering and product teams over the last year, so it was a natural evolution for Canopy and our process. PODs allow us to add more focus, accountability and ownership, scale in place, and create more efficiencies in product delivery.”
The purpose of each POD is to provide structure, clarity, and focus as we rapidly grow. By equipping our team members with all the necessary skills to tackle any challenge, we’re able to collaborate more effectively, increase autonomy and flexibility, and better understand our clients’ needs.
Before operating in a POD structure, our company-wide stand-ups primarily addressed urgent items. With the adoption of PODs, we’ve galvanized small teams around a set of visions that allows us to accomplish more collectively. Each POD has its own focus and space to problem-solve, which helps the team facilitate communication, track progress, and provide valuable solutions.

Our Areas of Focus: Growth, Platform, Policy

Growth – Product Manager: Jillian Funes
The mission of the Growth POD is to develop unique and innovative products that meet the evolving needs of the market and our customers. The Growth POD focuses on identifying and addressing specific challenges that are separate from the core Canopy ledger, while also enhancing the onboarding process for new clients. As a crucial driver of revenue growth, the Growth POD plays a significant role in facilitating a safe and reliable launch for new clients.
Platform – Product Manager: Dima Vastianav
The Platform POD is focused on improving the engagement of our existing clients and investing in our infrastructure to improve the developer experience and system performance. This POD is key to providing a platform that our clients feel confident building their businesses on.
Policy – Product Manager: Jose Gutierrez
The Policy POD is focused on building new ledger policies and enabling clients to build visionary and empathetic lending products in an intuitive way. The team focuses on building new ledger policies, new forms of borrower activity, supporting new financial products, and expanding our configuration. This POD is key to growing Canopy’s expansive configuration surface and ensuring that the calculations work as expected.

What the POD Structure Means for Our Clients

By aligning our focus areas with our client value, our teams can better serve and protect our clients and have long term ownership of the value they deliver. We strive to be at the forefront of product development and to set the standard for excellence in our industry, and working in PODs enables us to do just that. With this system, we have increased visibility, efficiency, and accountability. Our proactive mindset allows us to move boulders rather than react to issues.
We’ve been very intentional about how our business is structured and how we achieve value. We have organized the PODs to align with that value and be productive independently, without daily collaboration with the rest of the organization. To set each team up for success, we asked ourselves, “What drives value for our business?”
The implementation of PODs has positively impacted our business structure and value delivery. Greater ownership over deliverables has led to better visibility, distribution, and delivery. One of the new features that was made possible by this structure is , a tool that allows lenders to simulate the entire lifecycle of a loan, test different policies, and observe the effects over time.

How PODs Impact Canopy’s Culture

The positive impact has even extended to our company culture.
One of our core values is Always Learning, and we plan to apply the lessons we’ve learned thus far to make improvements next quarter and beyond. The POD leads have already begun implementing automation in their respective Slack channels for more streamlined async stand-ups. We aim to better understand our velocity and capacity as an engineering team, and maintain a sense of unity and connection.
Building and scaling a startup is not an individual sport. We work as a team and win as a team.
“At Canopy, our mission is to help organizations offer personalized, transparent, and safe credit and lending products,” says , Canopy’s Head of People. “We support innovative products with world-class servicing and are committed to continue executing our mission and values, bringing them into the forefront of what we do each and every day.”
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