Enabling Visibility Into the Most Important Service of All: Our Power Grid.

Can you imagine the amount of maintenance it takes to keep a power grid running at peak efficiency across 18 states? You can’t maintain most grid equipment while power is running through it, so to perform the massive amount of maintenance the grid requires, some of this equipment has to be brought offline… but you can’t just turn off the power for thousands of customers.


Digital Product Design, UI/UX design, Product Strategy, Software Engineering, DevOps


Python, Django, JavaScript, Vue.js, Postgres, Docker


At Dominion Energy, maintaining a power grid that delivers energy to more than 7 million customers across 18 states is critical and constant work.

And the equipment, be it a transformer, transmission line, or substation, must occasionally be taken offline in order to be worked on.

Scheduling major system maintenance is a lengthy and regulated process, which is often done years in advance. Some of these maintenance efforts could be derailed with just a few weeks notice due to an unforeseen or late-breaking conflict, setting off a cascade of rescheduling and requiring the relocation of crews and equipment.

With a power grid as vast as Dominion’s, managing the immense amount of maintenance needed to keep the grid operating reliably requires mountains of data.

This data was trapped in a variety of models and systems, which could only be accessed by a small number of people and required a lot of difficult and manual correlation.

Dominion Energy needed a new way to understand and access their data to provide better visibility into their most critical assets.



Everything we do at Simple Thread begins and ends with people.

This was the key to our partnership with Dominion Energy. We needed to understand, both deeply and broadly, how their existing data enabled the people in the Energy Transmission group to perform their critical work.

We needed to understand the goals and needs of the individuals whose ability to get their work done depended on this data. It wasn’t enough to just ask them what they wanted, we needed to understand the fundamental value of the data so that we could design a tool that would allow their team to transform their effectiveness and capabilities.


The Goals and Needs of the Individuals

Through this process we were able to understand the variety of individuals involved, and the different challenges they faced.

Together we began to understand how we could build a product that would fundamentally transform their team’s effectiveness and capabilities.

Dominion takes pride in providing reliable and safe energy for all of our customers. This relies on a sophisticated forecasting system we call ANODE, which was locked up in a deeply technical set of tools. Simple Thread’s design process helped us see ANODE as a coherent product, identifying how we could expose those tools in a usable and accessible way. Simple Thread unlocked ANODE and transformed it into a platform that has saved our team countless hours of effort and created a pathway for future innovation.

Jerry Warchol - Reliability Engineer, Dominion Energy

Through continued discussions and learning, we gained an appreciation for the challenges that these individuals faced, and began to truly understand their needs.

Once we had a solid grasp of these needs, we began to map out the processes and interactions that would allow us to reach a shared understanding of how users would interact with the system, identifying pain points and opportunities along the way.

Through a lot of refinement and review with team members, we were able to capture at a more detailed level how a user would interact with the system. As we started to transform the needs of the users into features in the system, we were also able to begin prioritizing these features so that we could form a picture of where the project was headed.

And finally, our team began to form detailed user stories that we could use to drive both budgeting and future engineering efforts.


We set to work designing sketches and wireframes that would allow us to iterate quickly, leveraging our user needs and user stories as a guide.

Our goal again was to create a shared understanding of how users would interact with the tool, how the data would be presented, and how users would flow through the application.

Our wireframes helped us validate our assumed user flows as we listened to the engineers’ thoughtful reactions and considerations.

This iterative approach allowed us all to refine our thinking to address critical issues early, resulting in a product that was better than anyone imagined.

Progressing to higher fidelity mockups allowed us to present a polished design to stakeholders that allowed them to more fully envision what the final application would look like.

This process revealed details such as the importance of using a dark color scheme. The system is frequently used in low light scenarios, so a dark background reduces eye strain for users. Had we caught details like this later in the build, they would have required costly revisions.

We knew that ANODE could be so much more if only we had the right partners. Simple Thread’s product design process took us past what we ever imagined we could deliver. Their dedication to a deep understanding of the problem and the needs of our users was apparent in the experience that the system delivered. Simple Thread has the power to change your business.

Kevin D. Jones - Supervisor, Engineering Analytics, Dominion Energy

Through continued discussions and learning, we gained an appreciation for the challenges that these individuals faced, and began to truly understand their needs.

It needed to support displaying data studies with tens of thousands of rows all while staying performant and responsive. It had to provide progress and notifications on data studies that could take many hours to generate. All of this took careful consideration and effort, but the resulting application experience was worth the investment.

To meet Dominion’s requirements, the application needed to operate within their environment, integrating directly with their security to allow users to seamlessly access the system. The application was designed to be containerized, so we could efficiently engineer the application outside of Dominion’s environment, and then easily hand it off for deployment without a lot of manual environment configuration.


The team is ecstatic about the resulting product. It beautifully displays high level data to users who need it, but also provides the ability to dive deep into the data when necessary.

It allows them to more easily access their data, drill into just the data they need, and model future grid maintenance, all in a single usable interface.

Implementing this software has the potential to save Dominion many millions of dollars by streamlining and increasing the efficacy of their crews and equipment.

Everyone was thrilled with the outcome. Before the project was complete we had a functional version of the product deployed allowing us to get feedback from key stakeholders.

Our collaboration resulted in a product roadmap that was larger than could be fit into an initial MVP, and so we are already working with them to enhance and extend the application, and we’re excited to continue creating valuable products alongside the team at Dominion.