Selling Online Overseas

The Department for International Trade (DIT) is the arm of government responsible for encouraging British companies to export, and foreign companies to invest in the UK. They have challenging targets for encouraging exports with 30,000 UK-registered businesses new to exporting, to start selling their goods and services overseas by 2020. This target will support the UK government’s overall target of 100,000 more exporters.

DIT’s aim was to increase the number of businesses that export, by developing a digital-by-default service that encourages, incentivises and improves access to global marketplaces. Under the current redevelopment of the Exporting is GREAT website, and to encourage a digital-by-default strategy, the Selling Overseas Online service was designed to:

  • Encourage 5,000 new exporters and £500m in exports by March 2017.

  • Contribute to the overall target with 30,000 new exporters by 2020.

  • Increase £2bn in exports and £2.5bn economic added value by 2020.

  • Maintain a 5-1 conversion rate (converting applicants to exporters).

We built a team around the internal project teams, based on:

  • Experience and a clear understanding of the Digital Service Standard and agile software development.

  • Being able to provide a complete team, including an agile coach, delivery manager, product manager, user experience designers, front-end developers, back-end developers and user researchers.

  • Having experience delivering projects in Django, so that post-Live, DIT could maintain the tool internally.

  • Being able to co-locate with the DIT team.

  • Being able to upscale the delivery team with 2 weeks notice, if required.

We successfully supported DIT over 12 months, with the service going live, in time to meet a high profile ministerial commitment and public milestone. Prior to going live, the service passed an internal service assessment. The agile team had to work hard in a complex environment, overcoming difficulties with running alongside other services in a large government programme and delivering to significant milestones.

Our agile coach worked closely with the product and delivery managers to upskill and share techniques. This encouraged cross-collaboration between in-house and agency teams, and up-skilled all team members in areas of stakeholder management, agile ceremonies and design-led development.


Our user researcher led meetup discussions with other researchers, sharing ideas and good practice of research techniques. This encouraged teams to create a single set of personas and user stories.

Our lead developer led collaboration with the chief technical architect, creating environments and ways of working for all developers in the wider team.

We supported the service delivery with retrospectives, product mentoring, mock service assessments and coaching team members, including civil servants.