Starting at NYSE TransactTools

I’ve mentioned this briefly in a couple of posts now, but I have a new job. Finetix was a great introduction to a financial software career in New York City, but my new role at NYSE TransactTools (or TT as I’ll refer to them from now on) was just too good to pass up.

So who is this new bunch I’ve got involved with? Until about 4 months ago, TT were a fairly young independent software company producing messaging software for financial institutions. Historically, most of their customers use this software for talking to each other in a protocol called FIX. The most typical scenario for this is when buy-side firms (investment funds, that kind of thing) want to send trading requests to sell-side firms (the investment broker/dealers like Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, Bear Stearns. ) That’s by no means the only scenario, but it gives you an idea of the kind of the environment I’m talking about.

4 months ago TransactTools were acquired by the New York Stock Exchange. This is part of NYSE’s growth into new business areas. The interesting thing for TT is that they have big financial backing now, a whole new business stream to draw from, and yet are able to carry on working in the dynamic environment they were used to as a startup.

This alone was pretty compelling to me: the opportunity to work for a product firm and apply 5 years of experience in consulting to a longer-term game, to stay in finance, and yet work in an environment I far prefer to that of a typical Wall Street bank. However there was more.

Firstly, a member of the senior management team here is a guy called Murray White who I’ve worked with before and massively respect. He’s a bit of a handful sometimes, but one of the brightest and most honest guys I’ve met in my career. In short, he’s a great mentor. The next thing is that I’ve been given the opportunity to lead the development team here at TT. It’s not just a matter of taking on existing management responsibilities – I’m also being encouraged to bring in my own ideas and help shape this team into one that will be able to rise to the new business challenges. Of course, a lot of these ideas will be XP / Scrum practices, as appropriate.

There are of course a lot of challenges in taking on this new role. One of the biggies is that this is the first time I’ve worked at a software product firm for 5 years, and the way such organizations work with regard to release management is quite different to that of an IT organization with only 1 or a few customers. I’m sure I’ll be blogging more on this in the future. Also, leading a team as a permanent employee is somewhat different to that as just a consultant, so I have things to learn there too.

All in all, I’m very excited by this move. It is a huge opportunity for me, and a chance to approach software delivery from a different angle to that I would take as a consultant. I certainly plan to continue blogging, but the tone and content will probably change somewhat. Expect more rants and questions than usual!

I’ll end mentioning another big task I have to start with – that of hiring some great individuals – but I’ll be talking more about that another time!

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