Moving to Shorter Release Cycles

Liquidnet is the top brokerage firm for global trading. Liquidnet allows money management institutions to trade large blocks of equities directly and anonymously with significant price improvement and little-to-no market impact. Liquidnet launched in 2001, and enables its Members to trade in 28 equity markets globally. Liquidnet is headquartered in New York with offices in London, Toronto, Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Sydney.

The Challenge

Liquidnet wanted to evaluate its current software engineering practices. The goal was to improve project initiation to support effective feature, date, and effort negotiation and ensure its processes would support future organizational growth plans. Liquidnet was especially interested in ensuring it had strong cross-functional teams that worked together to create releases on a frequent release schedule.

“From the beginning, Code Complete was required reading for Liquidnet’s product development teams. After attending public Construx seminars, we believed that bringing Steve McConnell and his team to Liquidnet to provide a custom evaluation would give us a tremendous leg-up.”

- Kevin Lupowitz, Head of Liquidnet’s Technology Infrastructure

How Construx Helped

Construx conducted an “Organizational Assessment,” in which we reviewed the current state of Liquidnet and provided prioritized recommendations for improvements. As a result of one of the recommendations, Construx facilitated a group of key Liquidnet personnel to define the concept of “Initiative Teams”—cross-functional temporarily-created teams responsible for a specific project—and create a deployment plan for implementing them.

Over the next year and a half, Liquidnet implemented the Initiative Team concept. This change improved the level of communication between the Development and Quality Assurance groups significantly. It enabled Liquidnet to create both small teams with short release cycles and smaller scopes and large teams to work on next generation releases.

As part of Liquidnet’s ongoing focus on improvement, Construx facilitated several project retrospectives to help the Initiative Team learn from each of its projects and institute one or two major changes for the next one. Construx also provided, as needed, public and onsite training and coaching as Liquidnet established changes to its practices.

End Result

“I can now say we have a mature software development lifecycle that exactly meets the needs of the business we are supporting. As the business needs change, we are well positioned to adjust our development methodology to meet those needs.”

- Kevin Lupowitz

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