The Money Advice Service

Outsourced Product Development

Money Advice Service

The Challenge: To build digital products that positively affect the financial health of the 11 million annual visitors to the Money Advice Service website.

A long term supporting role

Cultivate were originally engaged to update a single tool, with the opportunity to provide ongoing support on other projects based on our heritage within Agile, Lean UX and Ruby on Rails. We worked hard from the beginning to create a transparent and collaborative partnership with The Money Advice Service’s (MAS) internal team. This has proven a valuable foundation – two years and many projects later, we continue to be a trusted pair of hands.

Photo of Alastair Williamson-Pound
Cultivate were originally brought in not only to provide outsourced development support but work very closely with the in-house development team, so much so that they could be considered an in-house team themselves. It is the team's collaborative and friendly culture that allowed them to achieve this with ease. Alastair Williamson-Pound - Senior Product Manager, The Money Advice Service

Focused Product Development

Cultivate provide full product development teams, comprising engineering, UX and visual design. This full team approach ensures MAS get the best product on time and in budget.

Photo of Edmund Ward
Cultivate helped us to distill our unique requirements down, and define was needed to deliver a replacement system in 6 weeks. The new system is highly focused, simpler to use than it’s predecessor and delivers all the functionality we required. Cultivate delivered exactly what was needed, on time and within budget. They spent the time with us early in the project to completely understand what was required, then worked closely with us to build the solution. Edmund Ward - Syndication Manager, The Money Advice Service

We are entrusted with the creation of new software products that form the basis of the organisation’s strategic capability. We work closely with internal teams and stakeholders to define, scope and deliver these products to the highest standard.

Screenshot of MAS Retirement Adviser

We continue to support MAS by:

  • Running workshops to generate ideas, clarify project scope and set direction
  • Delivering new high-priority software projects
  • Bringing existing public-facing website 'tools' up to date
  • Updating and enhancing existing projects

A trusted partner with broad and deep experience

Over the extended period of our work with MAS we’ve gained familiarity with a broad spectrum of projects and technologies giving us a unique ability to add value in many disparate areas.

Screenshot of MAS Budget Planner

Our whole team work full stack and even contribute on dev-ops when required. This breadth of capability has helped us build trust and rapport across the organisation from management to product-ownership, design to dev-ops and everything in between.

Photo of Alastair Williamson-Pound
I very much felt like a Client when working with them and that being so, I found that the team always kept a close eye on the user needs, asking questions, challenging everything that didn't make sense until the value and rationale was abundantly clear. The organisation as a whole are very uncomfortable creating anything that doesn't deliver value and I commend that attitude. Alastair Williamson-Pound - Senior Product Manager, The Money Advice Service

How do we work?

We are remote, but connected.

Being based in Edinburgh, we were engaged from the beginning as a remote team. Remote working is a skill ingrained in the Cultivate culture and ethos. It requires extra effort to be ‘present’ which we work hard to achieve.

We maintain our connection with regular communication:

  • Daily standups
  • Nightly emails with a burn-up chart showing progress
  • Weekly demo & planning sessions
  • Regular retrospectives
  • Monthly onsite visits
  • Always available online via Slack, Trello and VOIP

We were recently recognised for our collaboration and communication, winning ‘Best Supporting Agency’ at the 2015 MAS Digital Awards.

Screenshot of MAS

Handed over, but never 'thrown over the wall'.

Our primary role is currently kick-starting new projects. To be able to do so, when the time is right, we hand over development to an internal team. We deliver well documented, fully tested, high quality, clean code, deployed and ready for ongoing development.

Photo of Alastair Williamson-Pound
I can highly recommend the services provided by Cultivate. I only hope that I get to work with other development companies that are as talented, professional and easy to work with. Alastair Williamson-Pound - Senior Product Manager, The Money Advice Service

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