Shifting from a programme to a solution model through SAFe® to drive CX ecosystem stability

This international pharmaceuticals company is embarking on a major shift to a new solutions-based operating model to increase stability across its global CX ecosystem. Find out how PM-Partners helped the client successfully transition to new ways of working through SAFe® and unlock business value.


  • Our pharmaceuticals client needed to increase the digital maturity of its globally dispersed customer experience teams.
  • Having supported the initiation and take up of a CX ecosystem, PM-Partners helped to implement a new solutions-based operating model (NOM) for the ecosystem utilising the Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®).
  • Our expert advisory and training enabled the transition from a programme to a solution approach with successful SAFe adoption and capability uplift across teams, helping the client to better realise its digital customer engagement goals.

Customer background

As a global pharmaceuticals leader, our client operates across 104 countries, in often varied markets with diverse customer needs. To drive digital customer engagement outcomes and retain its competitive advantage, the organisation wants to uplift the digital maturity of every customer experience team in its network. The first stage of this journey focused on the rapid implementation of a customer experience ecosystem. Three years on, this is now in the hands of 18,000 users across global sales and marketing teams and more than 80 pharma affiliates.

The challenge

With the ecosystem in place and moving into steady state operations, the emphasis has shifted to increasing overall stability, quality and efficiency of the ecosystem with a new operating model (NOM). This entails transitioning from a programme approach to a solution approach using the Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe® ), prioritising customer and value stream centricity, empowering teams, iterating development and planning across different products.

As a new way of working, the NOM will bring benefits such as end-to-end ownership and decentralisation of decisions, connectivity and collaboration, and a more flexible approach, enabling a focus on delivering the business value and improvements that would make the ecosystem better for all.

Shifting from a project-to-product, or programme-to-solution approach at this scale represents significant organisational change. It requires careful change management to avoid employee dissatisfaction and adapting current roles, responsibilities and mindsets. Success also relies upon buy-in at all levels to align and manage expectations.

How PM-Partners helped

PM-Partners has excellent SAFe resources and is part of the wider client community within the enterprise. Having worked with business and IT stakeholders to agree the target NOM, PM-Partners supported the client on its Scaled Agile journey. We delivered a combination of targeted training and expert consultancy as one of several partners who blended into a single high-performing team of teams. This included:

  • Standing up of SAFe structurally, including designing the approach to strategic portfolio reviews (SPRs), solution train design, and the set-up of five agile release trains (ARTs)
  • Developing a pragmatic implementation roadmap and team structure and helping to hire key roles e.g. solution train engineer
  • Advising on all communications and change management activities across people, governance, key processes and tools
  • Supporting teams with readiness workshops/training as they transitioned from their existing waterfall programme structure to new ways of working
  • Preparing for and facilitating solution train and planning interval (PI) planning events to align all teams in the ARTs to a shared mission and vision
  • Delivering targeted training across Leading SAFe®, SAFe®for Teams (ARTs), SAFe® for Architects, and coaching and preparation of teams for initial portfolio-level, solution-level and planning interval (PI) planning events
  • Fulfilling the scrum master role for the NOM transformation team and lean agile centre of excellence (LACE)
  • Providing support up to and including the first PI planning event.

Outcomes delivered

 With PM-Partners support, the client has successfully built and implemented the NOM for its CX ecosystem. Specific outcomes delivered include:

  • Implementation of initial SAFe transition over nine-month preparation period
  • Successful PI planning launch, encompassing five ARTs in parallel
  • Uplift in SAFe capabilities and confidence across internal teams to support self-sufficiency moving forward
  • Client on track to have in place an ecosystem way of working to support the increase in digital maturity across many global markets and greater stability and reliability.

What’s next?

To continue driving digital customer engagement outcomes, the client is looking to further embed and optimise the NOM. In this regard, PM-Partners is providing ongoing advice and coaching, including:

  • Supporting the next strategic portfolio review (SPR), which will kick off another cycle of work. (The SPR is focused on achieving and advancing the portfolio vision for the ecosystem offerings and reviews the related portfolio roadmap, metrics and KPIs. The output from the SPR provides the updated portfolio vision and clear direction for portfolio and solution level roadmaps)
  • Helping to prepare for the next planning interval, which (at the time of writing) is just around the corner
  • Driving continuous improvement of the NOM as a key member of the LACE, including gathering feedback and optimising processes and capabilities, refining key activities, tools and governance, and upskilling. This will ensure that the overall experience improves with each increment and further progress is made towards the desired outcomes.

Ready to shift from a programme to a solution model to improve agility and drive outcomes? PM-Partners is a Scaled Agile Gold partner with deep expertise in complex SAFe implementations. To find out more, contact our expert team online or call 1300 70 13 14 today.

SAFe and the Scaled Agile Framework are registered trademarks of Scaled Agile, Inc.

  • CLIENT Global pharmaceutical company
  • WE DID Change management, Scaled Agile Framework, Agile training, Agile capability uplift, facilitation, LACE Scrum Master

Connect with us


Head of Training


Singapore Sales Enquiries


Client Engagement Director