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Ofgem – Digital Transformation Strategy


Introduction

The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) is Great Britain’s independent energy regulator. They work to protect energy consumers, especially vulnerable people, by ensuring they are treated fairly and benefit from a cleaner, greener environment.

Hippo successfully delivered Ofgem’s ‘Adaptive Ofgem’ agile coaching and transformation programme to 250+ staff. Our coaches introduced agile ways of working by embedding collaborative techniques alongside a culture of owning outcomes and not outputs. 

Problem

Ofgem needed to meet the evolving needs of consumers while handling the pace, scale and complexity of change meant responding to new demands in real-time and flexing to deliver value quickly. But this isn’t just about keeping up; it’s about reaping the business benefits of the digital age to drive up performance, maximise value for money and provide world-class services to the people who rely on Ofgem on a day-to-day basis.

Ofgem set out an ambitious programme of changes to the energy market as a significant transformation was and still is underway in the way energy is generated, used and purchased as the UK makes the transition to an innovative, low-carbon, smart, decentralised system; this was published in the strategic narrative for Ofgem, in it, it said

Ofgem’s traditional ways of working were not optimised for this change. They can lead to inefficiencies, slower response to changing business and industry needs and a less stimulating work environment for staff.

Solution

To make sure Ofgem continued to be an effective regulator, they needed to ensure that teams operated in a more decentralised way and with more autonomy knowledge sharing; this culminated with Hippo working with Ofgem to deliver agile tools and culture and processes.

For Ofgem specifically, Hippo assembled a team that included people with decades of experience delivering transformation on the inside. People who have been in long-established organisations and institutions and helped them adopt agile ways of working pragmatically to increase performance, a sense of belonging and value for money. 

We did this by working with Ofgem to create a set of principles for the organisation to work to, delivered agile training and provided coaching to individuals, teams and leaders.

The first half of this work was carried out on sight across Glasgow and London, but then national lockdown was invoked, the entire 900 person organisation went remote, and new priority calls had to be made.

We had already been working with directorates within Ofgem to create a portfolio wall to increase visibility for teams and senior leaders, which they sometimes struggled with. It was common for us to ask what you are working on and how this links to strategic goals? Often, this was unclear, and establishing portfolio walls within Ofgem was one of the critical things that helped us when moving to remote.

We also brought the principles to the fore during this time to talk to Ofgem leaders about what is important and how we were in unprecedented times and would need to be more agile and more aware that priorities could change over the coming months and maybe even years.

On the back of this, we were asked to help organise and run a reprioritisation of the entire workload within Ofgem; this involved quickly understanding what they were delivering and creating a framework to carry out prioritisation. We focussed on what legally we had to do that we couldn’t push back on, what was needed to be delivered to align to the high-level strategic goals and then what new work requests we had received due to covid, things like how does someone safely enter someone’s premises and fix a boiler.

We gathered the senior leaders within Ofgem together and ran a prioritisation session for a couple of hours to move work into needs delivering and what could be paused.

We then needed to look at the people who had worked on the now paused work could be redistributed across Ofgem but also wider government to help meet the needs of other government departments. We did this through working with managers to understand skills people had and then expected skills needed to deliver new work…this was an assumption lead in many ways as we acknowledged the uncertainty of the new work, which hadn’t fully been scoped or understood.

Lastly, we worked to establish agile governance of the whole ongoing process that worked with the assumption we might need to reprioritise daily depending on asks from the government and as we understood more about users’ problems.

Outcomes

We created 6 Microsoft planner boards that covered all of Ofgem, we then linked to an Ofgem Leaders level view that allowed leaders to understand the work going on, the risks it was mitigating and if they were interested in the detailed view by accessing directorate boards. This provided top-down and bottom-up transparency.

This was supported by creating stand-ups for all each directorate board; this fed into a stand up of stand-ups for leaders to access information, provide steers/decisions, and reprioritise as needed.

We maintained the support for Ofgem throughout COVID, transitioning this methodology into BAU for COVID and providing a good example for Ofgem how Agile ways of working, methodology and mindset can help prioritise and deliver the right things