RETEX MOA Finance: the story of a project

Written by Pierre Sinodinos, on 14 October 2019


This is the story of a guy, no, it's not that, actually it's the story of several guys (but there was still a girl)


This is the story of a mission...

As Pierre, the founder of ANEO, would say, a beautiful mission, a story where the combination of expertise delivered value for the client as well as personal enrichment for its consultants.

A mission that reflects what ANEO can offer to its clients and its employees.

Back then, we met with a major French investment bank. The indicators of its Cross-asset e-trading platform were, how to say... in the red.

These indicators were related to its sustainability and not its usefulness.

To give some context, this platform was designed so that the end client could carry out their trading actions completely autonomously while benefiting from all the necessary information for decision-making.

It was therefore highly solicited. And as one can imagine, any bug or slowdown could result in operational or financial losses, or damage to the product's image in a highly competitive market.

And that's where the indicators turned red. The system was complex. Maintenance was expensive. The developments... not exactly fast.

Functional needs had to be reviewed, and some technologies at the core of the system were becoming obsolete.

The bank wanted to transform this platform into the e-Business reference in the market. This program was part of the bank's digital transformation.

The CDO, head of the E-Business division, along with their IT director, therefore approached us to accompany them on this beautiful adventure.

The first request: Conduct an audit.

The objective: Identify the functionalities and technical modules to capitalize on, then propose remediation and evolution solutions for the near future.

The first mission was accomplished. But we had to go further... It quickly became apparent to us that it was crucial to address the root cause of the problem to reduce the time-to-market for integrating new derivative products into the e-trading platform, optimize project/evolution costs, and increase the attractiveness of the end client.

The problem had several facets; we needed different specialists to tackle it on two main axes, consulting and implementation.

So here we were, at the beginning of a Mission Impossible episode, forming a team of experts to meet the challenge!

For the consulting part, the team was composed of several experts to mix business, functional, architectural, and development skills. Business knowledge of Cross-Asset e-Business was paramount.

! WARNING ! for those who know nothing about banking, now is the time to pay attention.

Indeed, we were able to exchange with the heads of various desks and their COO to learn about their constraints, wishes, and projected PnL. All these elements allowed us to establish the roadmap for creating the new platform with a sequencing of services on the first derivative products. We also supported the client in strengthening its team. This team needed both business and technical skills. The crux of the matter for a digital platform! Given the need for responsiveness and reduced time-to-market, we proposed an Agile/DevOps/Craft methodology. We introduced new roles: Proxy-PO (the PO was in London, the rest of the team in Paris initially) for strong business knowledge wanting to get closer to IT, the DevOps engineer, and all the devs (very senior) practicing Craft culture (software craftsmanship).

For the implementation part, on the organizational side, with the acculturation of the existing teams, we needed a Lead DevOps for the technical part, we needed senior front and back developers, and on the client side, with the rebuilding of the applications, we needed a Finance BA (our Proxy-PO), a trading specialist who could represent the users.

Collectively, we set up the new agile team to create this new application and gradually decommission the existing one.

The application was redesigned iteratively and incrementally, starting with "Structured Products" and "Commodities" (for those who know).

A strong objective was to train and equip the entire team to transition to "continuous delivery" with a "DevOps" approach. This was not just the developers' task but that of the entire team.

This mission, which originally was mainly technical, clearly evolved to approach the problem as a whole. It was therefore essential to integrate more functional profiles. We can mention our Finance BA collaborator: a former trader, she discovered the somewhat peculiar world and vocabulary of agile projects. In addition to having the chance to discover new financial products, her daily life became a clever mix of: Scrum, XP, Kanban, DevOps, TDD/BDD.

She experienced, as a "Proxy PO", the creation of "user stories", prioritizing them in a "backlog" while challenging the business. She also validated and deployed new application versions through a fully automated "delivery pipeline".


It's getting a bit technical. But that's precisely the point. She was trained by her partners in her skills development and became an essential link between the business and the development team. We can also specify that it was no small feat since the team was distributed across 3 continents. So, we're talking about different schedules, languages, and cultures... in short, she went from BA to Proxy PO!

Beyond the results of the mission itself, which helped to sustain the platform, it was truly enriching and put the ANEO DNA into action. It's about combining our skills and qualities. The Proxy PO clearly played a bonding role between the team's developers, the business, and the other members on the other continents. Thanks to the automation of packaging and software delivery, the Proxy PO even had the opportunity to switch to BDD (Behavior-Driven Development) and now delivers as she wishes via a "Press Button." We were able to harness the power of the collective, to be proactive in providing a complete solution to the client (Finance BA, highly skilled full-stack senior devs, DevOps...). These missions were not just a technical response or an organizational/functional response. This mission allowed us to bring profiles closer together and mutually enrich ourselves.

Now the team has grown significantly while still retaining the ability to deliver quickly and effectively. This platform has become the flagship of the bank's Digital program.

And we are very proud to have been able to contribute to it from the beginning. And we are always ready to support the client towards their ambition!