BEIS commissions Triad to support decommissioning of the Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme
As part of the government’s ‘green recovery’ from the pandemic, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced the flagship Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme. This offered homeowners the opportunity to apply for up to £5,000 funding (£10,000 for low-income households) to install energy efficiency improvements and low-carbon heat measures in their homes. The Department expected the scheme to run between September 2021 and March 2022, supporting up to 82,500 jobs over six months and enabling up to 600,000 households to save up to £600 on their energy bills. The scheme closed to new applications on March 31st, 2022.
It was important to decommission the scheme quickly, migrate all scheme data from the primary supplier to BEIS, and put in place a new service to process legacy vouchers including answering outstanding customer complaints and progressing ongoing fraud investigations. The data had to be clean, de-duplicated, machine readable, well-documented, and in a format conducive to being imported into the Department’s database.
About the client
Our client was the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the UK government body responsible for the Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme. Triad had worked closely with them on multiple projects, delivering technology and expertise in many areas, together with wide-ranging teams of professionals.
This project was a little different. We would be working with a team assembled by the client – what they required was someone to lead data migration and the development of the new legacy voucher processing service.
To decommission the scheme quickly, BEIS had put together a multi-disciplinary team, consisting of project managers, subject matter experts and technical specialists (e.g., a Data Architect and Technical Lead). However, important skills and experience were missing from the team, risking the final milestone date.
BEIS therefore asked Triad if they could supply the right person to lead the team and to put data migration back on track. They also wanted someone who could provide mentoring and upskilling to Civil Servants unfamiliar with agile ways of working.
We identified a highly experienced delivery manager, Paul Douglas, to support the project. His role was a blend of delivery manager, agile coach and scrum master – technical, educational and organisational leadership, in other words.
Some team members required training on agile ways of working; other subject matter experts were familiar with a variety of different working styles. The priority for Paul was to improve the agile working structure and develop clear dependencies between the multiple decommissioning workstreams. At a cross-team level, he introduced a scrum of scrums, interlinking team structures for closer individual collaboration, with clear escalation paths. Within the team, the introduction of a “three amigos” approach drove rapid consensus between different delivery disciplines, increasing quality and reducing time to deliver. He also reinforced the application of Jira to realise its full potential for tracking and monitoring tasks, and for unifying communications between team members.
An agile environment was essential for fluent task management and processes, but this was new to some team members. Others were new to the role; this included a junior product manager and an intern, both of whom needed extra assistance adopting an agile methodology. Paul therefore gave team presentations and set up individual Agile coaching sessions, together with specific training, upskilling and mentoring as required.
He also made sure that for task-based meetings only those who needed to be involved were present. However, to build team cohesion he set up informal weekly sessions for all.
Paul designed a roadmap covering the entire decommissioning process, to ensure project completion on time. He introduced process management across the multiple workstreams, and generally supervised day-to-day activities, creating risk logs to identify, evaluate and reduce risk at all stages.
The process included regularly engaging with multiple stakeholders, which involved weekly or even daily checkpoint calls. In addition, Paul led the assurance and approvals for each phase of the project. All deliverables were approved first time with no conditions applied.
Paul’s other main task was supervising the actual work and the associated technology involved, which ranged from Power BI to Java. At times, the technology stack became more complex than expected, but through research and analysis, as well as training, the team was able to proceed smoothly.
Before older systems were decommissioned and legacy systems introduced, Paul worked with the team to develop a service transition plan to ensure smooth handover to the business-as-usual teams. He organised workshops and developed training videos as future reference documentation for new and current teams.
Paul joined in October 2021, staying on board until May 2022. This highly complex, politically sensitive and intensely scrutinised scheme was successfully decommissioned on time and on budget.
“A massive thank you for undertaking this challenging role with consideration and application. You have very quickly re-set the project on a strong course during a busy and demanding period, developing a much-needed roadmap and POAP to provide a clear direction to the team. I have been particularly impressed by the way you have supported and coached the new-to-role Product Manager and transformed the team’s ways of working.“
Colin Cushway, Head of Digital Delivery, Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme