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methodology for trading floor environment?

i was wondering if anyone had opinions of based methodology for developing software on a trading floor environment?

let's face traders can be jerks. they change there mind, they don't think. has anyone tried using XP? Has it really worked? or have you done just code-and-fix and solve whatever was thrown at you?

Patrick
Thursday, July 08, 2004

does 'there mind' become 'here mind'?

Tapiwa
Thursday, July 08, 2004

seriously though, is more about domain knowledge. Coming from a finance background, I would say that you need a whole lot of domain knowledge.

Not only financial theory, but trading rules, compliance etc.

You need to give more detail. And you don't need detail.

Systems for pricing options are totally different to systems for trading commodities. Trading bots are another story. Risk management systems are something else, and clearing/settlement ones are a whole different piece of meat.

What METHOD you use to develop the software is up to you.

You might want to check out Eiffel. There is a company that uses it to produce Bond Trading software. They might have some detail on their METHOD

Tapiwa
Thursday, July 08, 2004

let me try to write in proper english.

so you are sitting on the same floor as traders. you are trying to write an equity trading system for there use. What methodology do you adopt? Waterfall? XP? some other Agile? RAD? Code-and-Fix?

traders don't think, they yell

Patrick
Thursday, July 08, 2004

In my experience code and fix is generally the only option. The closest I ever got to a specification out of a money market dealer was "This fucking software is fucking fucked. Fix it."

as
Thursday, July 08, 2004

Not to be annoying... Patrick, you wrote: "you are trying to write an equity trading system for there use".

Quick English lesson:
"there" means "at that place"
"their" is a possessive personal pronoun

For clarity, please choose the right one.

Exception guy
Thursday, July 08, 2004

Please, let's get over the grammar. This is not code, it's not interesting, but this topic is. I want to know good experiences for this difficult situation. For my work.

anon for this post
Thursday, July 08, 2004

Exception Guy,

How do you know that he was using the wrong there/their?

Ged Byrne
Thursday, July 08, 2004

On reflection my previous comment was a bit of an over-simplification, but I spent a good ten years in that kind of environment (and found it enormously enjoyable after the initial shock), and don't think any kind of development methodology is the key to surviving in it. The key is more to do with dealing with people. A few thoughts:

The default setting of a trader is that support staff, including developers, are a lower form of life whose main function in life is to reduce the size of their bonus. You need to change that attitude, for example by delivering something that makes life easier and more proftable for them (and is 100% reliable). If you can get the traders to respect your ability, your life will become much more pleasant.

Traders do yell. Stand up for yourself. Depending on your personal style, liberal use of the Dick Cheney word may help, but don't take any crap in any case. Easier said than done, but achievable.

Make every attempt to understand the business, and what it is that traders do, so that you can talk to traders in their language. They're not going to talk in yours. I was enormously lucky in that one firm I worked at had an extremely bright person with a foot in both camps - he was neither a developer nor a trader, but spoke both languages to an extent, and was a huge help in translating between them.

If you can get to the point of being seen as an asset rather than an overhead, you can even start to introduce a little more structure into the development process.

as
Thursday, July 08, 2004

(whispering, so as not to distract from actual conversation:
Ged, I know it was a mistake because in one post he wrote "they change there mind", and in another "you are trying to write an equity trading system for there use".)

Exception guy
Thursday, July 08, 2004

So if I'm developing an app for nurse-shift scheduling, I'm supposed to walk around all day in green scrubs with comfortable shoes?

I'm quite sure I'm missing something here.

Tim
Thursday, July 08, 2004

"So if I'm developing an app for nurse-shift scheduling, I'm supposed to walk around all day in green scrubs with comfortable shoes?"

Of course. Didn't I already say that??

"I'm quite sure I'm missing something here."

I find that hard to believe.

as
Friday, July 09, 2004

as,  based on my four years writing front-end systems, I'd say your original summary was right on the money.

Sales/Traders LOVE to be able to blame mistakes on the software, so I found detailed log files were utterly critical.

This isn't helping the OP, but I'm just pointing out that if people are looking to get into the (stressful but exciting) world of working in IT for investment banks, they need to know what to expect.

Chris Welsh
Friday, July 09, 2004

In my experience of working with traders on the trading floor, it can be tough, but a lot of fun too.

As others have mentioned, traders time is for trading, anything else is eating into their p&l, which untimately eats into their bonus.

The best thing to do is to understand everything you can about their job and how they and/or their team works. In this way, you can just help them and they will be happy.

Don't be tempted to offer them the "best" solution. They don't give a crap about how elegant your shit is, they just want it to work.

My best advice is to under-promise and over-deliver, as with all projects, but with these guys especially. If you do a good job, they'll give you more work and you'll be set up.

Steve Jones (UK)
Friday, July 09, 2004

Corollary: Whatever you do, don't talk about methodologies with the traders.

They'll laugh, you'll cry, nuff said.

Steve Jones (UK)
Friday, July 09, 2004

what i've gathered from this ...
1) My grammer stinks!
2) Code-and-fix is probably best.
3) Become a domain expert in the "business" is a must

after a very long time of doing this, leave the bank. go somewhere else and quickly prove yourself. then put some structure around it.

i have since moved onto a software development company and i am very happy.

any grammer mistakes?

Patrick
Friday, July 09, 2004

Try matt daveys blog at http://weblogs.asp.net/mdavey/

Peter Ibbotson
Friday, July 09, 2004

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