Agile working in the utility sector

How do utilities, built on stability and manageability, make the transition to flexibility and agility without sacrificing security and reliability? And that too in the top gear of the energy transition. Three agile ICE Consultants talk about how they deal with this challenge.

Colliding worlds

"It's about an agile way of thinking. Processes are always supportive," says Nathalie Tigchelaar. "I deal with shaping a strategic change process. We have to look at work and the world differently from strategic, tactical and operational levels. That requires a lot."

"We are talking about clashing worlds at the heart of the energy transition. That makes it very interesting," says agile coach Bjorn Grob. "With long preliminary work and a long construction phase without interim feedback, your plans are overtaken by time in the new energy world."

Geert Remmelink contributes to the agile transition as scrum master of three teams: "The focus is on the basic principles of agile working and how to apply them. That introduction starts to lead to focus on what delivers the most value."

The utility sector is not just any sector

"The energy market is moving extremely fast, we see all kinds of things happening," indicate Nathalie, Bjorn and Geert. "On the one hand, we work agile, on the other, projects have a waterfall structure. Some are traditional energy companies, some are customer-focused high-tech organisations. In some places the urgency to change is felt hard, in others hardly at all. In some parts, the customer is central, in others not. We do our work in that field of tension. What we bring in is a different way of looking at and tackling problems. We need to become comfortable with uncertainties and encourage people to learn from mistakes."


Bjorn: "I became curious about agile thinking from my search for more meaning and intrinsic work motivation. Agile working is often about attitude and behaviour. About being present in the here and now and acting accordingly."

"At my previous company, everything went into top gear. The power of standing still and reflecting was the trigger for me," adds Geert. "Here I am at the start of a new way of working. Taking people along and making a difference on an individual level. That motivates me every day."

"Issues are getting more complex and solutions are needed faster and faster," says Nathalie. "The power lies in getting comfortable with those uncertainties rather than false security by closing everything down behind the comma. The traditionally technical environments built on security and stability that we are in have a hard time with that. That something can be quite vague at times, without that feeling like losing control."

Need to spar?

Do you recognise this and would like to exchange views with one of our consultants? Feel free to approach them. We are always open to meet and share knowledge.

The consultants:

LinkedIn: Nathalie Oughiri
LinkedIn: Bjorn Grob
LinkedIn: Geert Remmelink

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