Building an Agile Organisation with National Grid

By: Isabelle Haigh

National Grid’s ‘Richmond’ program is bringing big changes to the business. After beginning the implementation process in 2018, National Grid is already seeing results and savings which are making the business far more efficient. We spoke to Isabelle Haigh, the Head of the Gas Transmission Transformation Program to find out more about their ‘Richmond’ project and how it is currently being implemented into the business. Discover what makes a successful, agile business with National Grid.

The Richmond program has been running since September 2018 but prior to this, National Grid had taken a more traditional approach to implementing transformation across the business. While they did not continue with the traditional approach, through it they gained business stories and were able to talk with everyone involved to allow everyone to fully understand their roles in the transformation. According to Isabelle Haigh this initially proved to be engaging, as it allowed the workforce to see how things could change. But in the long-run, National Grid were concerned about keeping the engagement with the tradition approach. They began to research Scaled Agile (SAFe) and with the help of a coach, began their first increment in September 2018. January 2019 has seen the launch of the second increment, with the program due for completion in December 2019.

“The Richmond program is mostly light-touch technology that will enable business change and ensure that our current systems are configured to deliver the greatest value to Gas Transmission. So, from a National Grid perspective, it’s really the first time we’ve used SAFe Agile for a business-change programme.” 
- Isabelle Haigh

National Grid have been restructuring the UK business over the past six months in order to stop some activities while enhancing other activities that drive the greatest value. With a focus on the size of the organisation, National Grid is looking at how they need to reshape to ensure success in the future. The restructuring is going to be fully implemented over the next two years and Richmond is the key to enabling this change. It will allow National Grid to make more informed asset-management decisions which will help to reduce the waste in our asset management processes.

An agile transformation does mean that the business are continually assessing and prioritising the scope of the program in line with what brings the business the greatest value. According to Isabelle, this process has worked very well with people who are directly involved with the changes, however, for people who are used to traditional programs this approach can be a cause for concern. For National Grid, this audience has been the most difficult to convince [...]

You have just read a snippet of our Richmond program case study with Isabelle Haigh, the Head of the Gas Transmission Transformation Program at National Grid. Interested in learning about the challenges the business has faced in the transition to an agile organisation or what makes an organisation truly agile? Read the full case study here. Isabelle will also be joining us at OPEX Leaders Europe to present a case study on how implementing SAFe Agile at National Grid has delivered a data-driven approach to asset management. Learn more about Isabelle’s session here.