FinTech: Designing and building the innovative ETF investment platform from the scratch
About the project
FinTech company that provides sophisticated information processing and computer software services and products that help clients improve productivity, increase efficiency, and provide higher levels of customer service. The company has asked us to help develope an investment platform for individual and institutional investors to trade ETFs (within tax wrapper accounts) for a UK-based client.
Business oriented, innovation department of our client’s company was put under extreme pressure to deliver platform for individual investors to trade ETFs. Originally, most of the business and non-functional requirements remained undiscovered. It was a joint journey to learn the business domain and figure out the way to put all financial data into the clouds in a very short period.
We started with 4-5 people team to transition PoC development from the US to Poland. In the early days, our goal was to delivery MVP quickly to gain initial traction. As a group, we had to discover not only requirements that flew from various directions but also a safe way for financial corporate to operate in the new environment driven by rapid development, short feedback cycles and Agile way of thinking. Over time, cooperation grew into a real partnership where both parties jointly form backlog based on experience, business needs, and mutual trust.
On client’s side we had five stakeholders with different views on top priorities for upcoming quarters. We helped them to visualize all their ideas and then come up with a goal they want to achieve. In the next step, we asked them to assess as a team on how each of their ideas matched the goal. At the end of the session, the scope for an initial version of the product was identified. We drew a roadmap of all other supplementary features and planned their releases on the timeline.
Facilitating corporate change
After the initial period customer wanted to replicate our approach and tools we used for other projects. Pragmatic Coder’s team has served as facilitator of this process by building proper CI/CD infrastructure and processes around it that would allow for greater collaboration with external teams along with creating a flexible cloud infrastructure fully supporting the concept known as “Infrastructure as a code”.
Initially five teams working on three different products had just one Product Owner. This person often did not have enough time to explain and refine the requirements to the teams. It also happened requirements used to be communicated to the teams by different people. During the reviews stakeholders were surprised and asked the teams why they worked on those requirements but not on the other ones.
We observed this pattern a few times and proposed to the client to change teams’ structure a bit and hire a single Product Owner for each team and streamline all requirements only through them. As a result, teams became more productive as they knew exactly what priorities
We’ve worked in six small teams with 4-5 developers in each team. Five of them focused on three different products and one team took care of infrastructure for product teams. Each team had a product owner from the client’s side.
The teams worked in two weeks iterations. During each iteration, we aimed to achieve a specific business-oriented goal. At the end of each iteration, we showed to our customer a working software addressing the goal planned for that iteration. After the demonstration we gathered feedback from the stakeholders about the delivered product and spoke about next development steps.
Once a quarter the teams met with client’s product stakeholders for a planning session where all current priorities were discussed. All involved people met face to face in one place. The client was responsible for bringing business goals they wanted to achieve and ideas on how the goals could be achieved from a business point of view. During the workshop client’s representatives and engineers agreed on the most important items from the list of priorities for the upcoming quarter and selected those that team will be working on.
During the next step, teams planned their work in more details using popular techniques like event storming or user story mapping. As a result of this exercise, the teams had a rough idea of how much time would be needed to achieve their goals. They also identified potential impediments and dependencies with other teams. After this part all teams came together again and synchronized their plans.
At the end of the entire session, the team and stakeholders spent an hour on thinking how next quarter planning might be improved so it would be more informative, efficient, productive and engaging for all participants.
The client asked us to restrict some operations for a certain group of customers. Similar requests repeated ones or twice again. We analyzed our backlog to see if there are any other similar requests waiting in a queue. Based on that analysis we asked our PO additional questions about the nature of the problem and proposed to create a solution to restrict specific operations to multiple customer segments. We prepared a matrix of different combinations of restrictions for different groups of users on the account and user level.
When the feature was validated with end-users it turned out it became a good product differentiator on the market.
CEO of Pragmatic Coders and NxTide.
“This project proved us that we can create and manage agile software development teams very fast to help our clients in need. Our deep Product Development and Management knowledge surpised everybody as we are one of very few companies that are capable of doing more than one thing.”
Create a Nearshore Software Development Team with NxTide
Over our 7-year company activity we have helped many US and EU companies to successfully build Software Development Teams and Software Development Centers in a variety of locations in Poland.
Interested? – Let’s discuss your case on a call.
Marcin Dziedzic, CEO of Pragmatic Coders and NxTide.
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