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Feb 16, 2021

Case study: PCCW Global

Training the Interstellar ART

PCCW Global is the international operating division of HKT, Hong Kong’s premier telecommunications service provider. Covering more than 3,000 cities and 160 countries, the PCCW Global network supports a portfolio of integrated global communications services including connectivity, applications, and tailored solutions facilitated by its on-demand digital software defined interconnection system.


The provision of network communications through hardware has been the infrastructure for value delivery. However, the advancements brought by new technologies like cloud computing and artificial intelligence urge PCCW Global to improve its development processes to adapt to changing market needs more quickly. PCCW Global describes the current environment as Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA) which requires continuous delivery of new products & services to meet the aforementioned changing market needs.



The Solution

One of the ways in which PCCW Global wants to overcome these challenges, is by adopting a unified Agile way of working; the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe). This way of working helps them to turn the challenges presented by the existing VUCA environment into new VUCA strengths: Value, Understanding the products, Clarity and Agility.

The SAFe Framework is a high quality, complete, framework, but also quite complex. To ensure the right level of knowledge of the Framework, PCCW Global and Gladwell Academy organized tailored in-house SAFe training courses. One of the key components in SAFe is the construction of an Agile Release Train (ART): a coherent organizational configuration of teams. PCCW’s first ART was named the ‘Interstellar’ ART.

PCCW Global engaged BlinkLane to provide the consultancy service to guide the launch of its Interstellar ART. The key roles of the ART received intensive mentorship from the BlinkLane consultants. Meanwhile Gladwell Academy, the sister company of BlinkLane, provided the formal SAFe role-based training to all the ART members in Lean-Agile practices. The consulting from BlinkLane and the trainings from Gladwell are very complementary to each other; they enabled all the ART members to be well prepared for the launch of the Program Increment.

Our joint approach

Due to PCCW Global’s geographical dispersity, this ART included multiple countries, time zones and nationalities. PCCW Global, Gladwell Academy and BlinkLane Consulting worked together to overcome this challenge, by tailoring the execution of the Launch Approach to the specific context:

  • All preparatory SAFe courses, workshops and other activities were scheduled logically over a period of ten weeks and communicated (at least) 3 weeks in advance;
  • We identified the minimum number of face-to-face meetings without losing efficiency and hampering team building;
  • Role based training and face-to-face workshops were planned together;
  • We filtered the activities from the face-to-face that could be done via Video Conference;
  • As people had to travel from all over the world, all face-to-face workshops were adjusted such that they would take place once, while still ensuring a valuable results;
  • Face-to-face workshops and training were scheduled on three locations: Athens (Greece), Reading (United Kingdom) and Gosselies (Belgium) followed by Scrum team workshops and coaching;
  • Agile Program Management Office played a crucial role in the launch of this ART by participating the content workshops and training;
  • Management showed full support by making themselves available when necessary and making quick decision to stimulate the ART to continue.

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