Ignitr brings high-velocity culture, software development methods & tools from the best of the start-up community to the corporate world. We enable our clients to harness technology better, respond faster with more agility, and innovate with business driven software.
Ignitr consulting is a European software engineering consultancy based in London, UK. We specialise in bringing the latest software development disciplines from high-performing start-ups (Agile, Lean, Business Driven Development, Kanban, exploratory software testing) in to the corporate environment, enabling large organisations to become more responsive, deliver more functionally appropriate, higher quality software, faster. In doing so, our clients are better able to meet the demands of fast changing and highly complex business environments.
In practice that means our clients derive greater business value from technology. Together with their IT teams they are able to respond faster to changing business needs, be more collaborative and focused on quality, flow and reduction of waste.
We exclusively work in the financial services sector and our client list includes a number of top-ten global investment banks.
What we do
Oversight demands and a drive for trading governance invoked a “top-priority” need for an integrated trade-monitoring control tool
Whilst the high-level project objective and a “milestone one” due date was clear, the required feature set of the product was highly evolutionary. A vendor-led solution or a non-iterative build approach was not feasible.
Ignitr brought a test-led, agile, business driven development (BDD) framework and the experience to execute it, allowing users to continuously engage with the design process and see their feedback realized quickly. Having delivered several other successful projects for the client, Ignitr was given control over the approach and provided all stakeholder management, business analysis and test resources, working tightly with the internally managed development team.
Ignitr recognized the critical need for trust and credibility: committing to deliver a clearly specified “minimum viable product” (MVP) enabled autonomy of development approach. Ignitr aligned the project team around a test-led, BDD / agile approach to create a project culture of “validated feedback” and iterative development. User stories and acceptance tests were defined in a “natural language” tool (FitNesse), validated with product owners, prioritized and verification tests written before entry in to sprint planning. This also significantly improved accuracy and efficiency of development, with design assumptions being removed prior to the sprint. UAT was deemed unnecessary, being replaced by a beta phase to establish any untoward impact of production data. This beta phase proved to be extremely useful in uncovering new user stories, requirements and defects.
Kanban-type goals of more process efficiency were targeted as early as possible once sprint rhythm was established, approximately three months in to the project. Continuous integration was the overall final objective, with tuning improvements to the release process removing waste.
The project phase was concluded successfully, in budget, within 9 months of initiation and with a product featureset that significantly exceeded user expectations. The project approach was highly valued by all stakeholders, not least because it provided for early user ownership of the product, and transparency of the development status at all times. This laid the ground for a new relationship between business stakeholders and IT, leading to a “continuous improvement” phase to significantly enhance the product in a number of new and different directions and discussions to adopt the methodology for other products in the bank.
A top-10 global investment bank sought to expand their global equities trading business by creating a new equity finance trading desk in NY. The platform chosen, SunGard’s Apex trading system was a newly developed product by the vendor and unproven as a front to back system.
A previous implementation by the bank of a front-to-back securities finance trading system had resulted in a highly customized, bespoke IT solution which was technically “brittle”, could not be easily migrated, and was based on process-heavy “anti-pattern” use cases. The bank sought suitably experienced IT delivery capability to ensure a more business-strategic, flexible and ultimately valuable outcome.
Ignitr brought experience of successful implementations global securities lending trading and settlement systems, but also a pragmatic, business focused and motivated approach, co-ordinating competing priorities and objectives.
Ignitr took overall IT responsibility for the project’s delivery and management of output of 15 separate work streams (both software and infrastructure). They worked with the bank’s existing internal teams and contractors, adding with project management, requirements analysis, technical solution architecture and test design expertise.
First pilot phase was delivered on time (four months), and a fully signed off solution to production by month nine. Several new software applications were deployed as part of the overall new platform, including those from two new software vendors. Project remained within budget and the bank’s senior management considered the project a success.
A cohesive, inclusive and positive project management approach led to the effective management of a number of systemic challenges and the fostering of a strong project culture of “ownership of quality”. By collaboratively validating designs, asserting quality awareness, vendor engagement, carrying out early and systemic testing, only three UAT cycles were required to reach final sign-off. Anecdotally, total business test effort was understood to be around 50% of comparably sized projects.
The final platform included ground-up development of custom interfaces to all necessary bank standard applications, multi-entity risk management capability, SWIFT messaging adoption for settlement, payment and confirmations, and the creation of a new transactional trade workflow that was subsequently adopted and rolled out as a bank standard.
A new venture to build a full, front to back, bond financing crowdsourcing platform required integrated expertise of both technology and business and a highly iterative design cycle.
A start-up organisation sought a design and development partner to help build a bond financing crowd-funding platform. They needed a partner who could provide high agility and a flexible approach to change.
Ignitr managed overall delivery of the technology stack, including design, architecture, project management, software development testing. We employed Lean and agile, developing a minimum viable product within 6 weeks.
The software platform was delivered on budget and the initial phase signed off by user stakeholders. After managing split (A/B) testing, an extensive product backlog was detailed and costed. The platform was put forward by stakeholders for regulator approval in preparation for launch.
A major investment bank's project to launch a new dividend claiming and regulatory compliance platform, originally planned for six months, was two years later still not launched. The project had become a classic “death-spiral” project with a successful outcome steadily getting further away. Ignitr carried out a project review and was tasked with executing it’s own recommendations for change. After an extremely intensive adaptation phase, the platform successfully went live five months later.
Almost every project error had been made: incomplete and conflicting requirements, solution design carried out before problem identification, limited accountability, no test discipline, assumed waterfall methodology. Consequently the project was paralysed and at high risk of implosion.
A full project review and new project manager was needed; Ignitr were brought in to provide both and to take responsibility for project delivery.
Ignitr reset and recalibrated the project. The immediate goal was to secure a clear project objective so that success could be recognized when it occurred. Business users were tasked with communicating their requirements and base-lining existing specifications. Without electing a specific software methodology, improvements to project disciplines were defined and enforced across the project; all functions were scrutinised. Better discipline led to more accountability and a renewed drive for success. Test environments and data were created, an infinitely iterative testing process was established with one-week development sprints. Daily and weekly review meetings were set up to communicate problems and agree actions. Gantt chart planning all but ceased, being replaced by quality-driven project milestones.
By adopting a test-led, collaborative culture, Ignitr were able to get the platform “live” within five months of the project review. Appropriate agile / Business Driven Development / Lean / iterative methods were used where helpful, which resulted in a shift to a continuous-testing framework. Here, defects identified were discussed, prioritized, fixed and retested based on priorities established collaboratively by the users. Code changes were controlled but frequent.
Ignitr was able to focus the project members on realistic, agreed objectives and practical, creative methods to achieve them. By involving stakeholders in daily discussions and metrics about quality, whole team was harnessed to successfully go live with a high-quality platform.
From strategic transformation guidance and project management to on-the-ground test execution, front-to-back solutions for equities, fixed income, FX derivatives. We deliver.
This is just a small selection of our dedicated team who work day-in and day-out together to deliver
outstanding software projects.
Like many other companies we support our clients by approaching their problems with commitment and professionalism. But with a more "millennial mindset", we blend the traditional boundaries of work and play and with them the boundaries to problem solving. We are pragmatic, collaborative, creative and disciplined.
We are highly outcome orientated, investing our attention to solutions and results rather than hours booked on a timesheet. We choose to work with clients who genuinely value success and are keen to embrace change. We approach every single one of our customers’ problems with an open mind; we recognise the individuality of each and every single one of our customers needs and respond accordingly.
We believe that there is no intrinsic reason that the activities of the financial services industry cannot be measured on the social value they create. Whilst we don't claim to be authoritative in this area, we seek to focus on projects that have a positive social utility and avoid those that don't.
We understand the need for speed, agility and team dynamics; the same principles that guide professional bike racing. And we love cycling. So we partnered with the 2013 Tour of Britain, the 2014 Pearl Izumi Tour series and have more plans for the 2014 season.
We operate a highly supportive and inclusive culture where young talented people can learn a challenging technical profession. We operate a mentorship programme and leverage technology to ensure team collaboration by design. Outside the company, we make charitable donations to organisations such as Centerpoint, who provide an invaluable safety net to the most vulnerable young people in society and campaign to end youth homelessness.