Case studies

Life Sherpa is a live resource with everything you need to be financially free. Tips and tools to help you make the most of your money, whatever your means.

  • Life Sherpa is a 100% online, financial advice service that helps you live the life you want with the money you have. Life Sherpa combines its award-winning website resources with the empathy and trust you can only get from a real human who truly understand the needs of a new generation of Australians.
  • Life Sherpa’s website delivers a wealth of resources to help you assess where you are financially, uncover where you want to be and guide you towards your goals. Every member gets their own personal adviser (your Sherpa) who will guide you along the way.
  • Life Sherpa is licenced by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission to provide advice on a range of financial products (including bank deposits, insurance, super, shares and managed funds) and to help you acquire, change or sell these products.
  • Life Sherpa is also is licenced by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission to provide advice on home loans and other debt products.
  • Life Sherpa is registered with the Tax Practitioners Board as a tax (financial) adviser.
  • Life Sherpa was founded by Vince Scully and is independently Australian owned. Vince has over 30 years experience in finance and is the author of 'The Latte Fallacy (and other money myths)

Involvement / participation

The initial project specifications were delivered to us late in 2013. The project brainstorming, market niche research, competition comparison and branding strategy was already done by that time. Also the user experience mockups and workflow diagrams were done and provided as input for the first phase of the project.

We received the detailed functional specification for the phase 1 before we started to discuss the requirements with the customer. Also we received the initial set of the page designs. The rest of the designs were delivered either during the specifications discussion stage or at the time when the core of the functionality was in implementation stage. While the functional specifications were discussed and polished the rest of the designs were delivered. Also the slicing style guide was made up and ready for the HTML/CSS slicing stage.

Our work on the project started early in 2014 when the functional specification was finalized, the designs were complete and refined and the estimation for the first phase was agreed upon. The first efforts at our side were to slice the static HTML/CSS pages and prepare the staging server for demonstration purposes (as we strongly believe that early feedback from the customer can save a lot of efforts and can give the customer real-time insight on how the project implementation is moving on). Also we performed the initial research to decide upon the admin and CMS functions implementations.

The phase 1 was delivered to production late in September 2014. At this time we created the necessary instances on Amazon AWS cloud and prepared the automated deployment process. Also we added up the tools and services to make sure the project availability is as close to 100% as possible, and also we integrated NewRelic monitoring solution to be able to monitor the project health in real time and to get notifications about any critical events. Also together with the project core implementation the integrations with third party services was built up :

  • SalesForce to control further customers and prospects pitching and communications
  • Pardot to setup the nurturing streams and follow up with the existing contacts
  • CampaignMonitor and MailChimp to import the users from third party services and the ones who registered at project related events.
  • Stripe payment gateway to manage the user subscriptions
  • Financial Psychology MoneyMax service to generate the Money Personality quiz report
  • Integration with major social networks (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter) and Google Analytics installation is a MUST for modern web projects to function efficiently and to provide the users with easy way to reach their online communities, thus they were added up to the project too.

In October 2015 the second phase implementation has started. It featured the integration with RACQ (Australian club for Roadside Assistance, Motoring, Insurance, Finance & Travel) and special membership conditions for its existing participants. Also the project services availability for guest and members users was refactored. In addition the path to accept the Global Money Week participants was added. And as a most recent addition LifeSherpa was extended to provide special conditions and services for corporate subscribers.

Life Sherpa was meant to be a highly available service targeted to the Australian and New Zealand audience equally accessible and usable from both desktop and mobile devices. The latter was especially important as the primary audience for the service is the generation of Millenials. To achieve this the most recent versions of desktop browser must have been supported - Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, Microsoft Internet Explorer and Edge. Likewise for mobile the support of Chrome, Safari and Edge browsers was necessary.

In terms of security the implementation must have provided the strong protection at all levels :

  • The hosting provider firewalls must protect the traffic
  • The traffic itself between the users and the Life Sherpa servers must be protected with strong encryption algorithm
  • The sensitive security information must be stored in the database encrypted with industry best available algorithm.
  • The overall storage facility must allow to store the data on an encrypted disks.
  • The authentication must provide multiple levels of protection for different user types - subscribers, moderators, sherpas, admins.
  • The system deployment must be located at the highly secure facility with multiple levels of authentication and recognition procedures.
  • The user passwords must not be recoverable, even by the Life Sherpa owners
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In order to ensure availability as close as possible to 100% it was critical to choose the cloud hosting provider with reliable infrastructure, with presence of the data centers on the Australian continent. Reliable backup and restore procedures were also a MUST to prevent the critical data loss. It was likewise critical to ensure efficient UX/IU which would be both intuitive for the end users and at the same time would allow efficient page content management, Knowledge base articles management and administration of the system backend (including, but not limited to users, subscriptions, third party integrations, etc.).

As an additional requirement Life Sherpa pages must be editable in-place by the admin staff whenever the page content has to be changed.


We had started our work on the project in the late 2013 which continued up to 2015.Our aim was to create as suitable and properly performing platform as possible. But, in fact, even after the main part of the job was finished, our work continues up until now.

In order to make the service work smoothly, our team monitors all the necessary data. First of all, we pay much attention to the updates so the website always suits the needs of our clients and their users. Moreover, we constantly work with protection systems and update them as by the necessity in order to guarantee the data protection of a high level. All of this allows us keeping the service running without any difficulties and delays.