Agile development practices allowed Turquoise, the trading facility established by nine leading European investment banks, to formally launch this week, just 10 months after work on the platform begun.

Sophisticated technology, rapid build and deployment were vital to ensure Turquoise could compete as a new trading facility in a rapidly growing market place. That meant bringing in an outside testing partner, AppLabs to speed the process, according to Yann L’Huillier, chief technology officer of Turquoise.

"Designed to compete with incumbent exchanges and alternative venues, we differentiate on technology, costs and the quality of our services. We needed an experienced and unbiased testing partner to make sure our platform is functionally reliable, robust and efficient, which are critical to our success," L’Huillier said.

Turquoise, a pan-European electronic trading platform, was launched to compete with established players such as the London Stock Exchange. The multi-lateral trading facility was backed by nine leading banks: BNP Paribas, Citi, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Société Générale and UBS.

Turquoise chose AppLabs as its sole testing partner. "Turquoise has a staff of 40 and did not want to have a team of 25 people carrying out testing and quality assurance," said L’Huillier.

“We have a quality assurance (QA) manager and a small number of people testing and add AppLabs staff when we have big releases to test. In addition, we needed to launch the platform in eight months and it is impossible to form a full QA team of this magnitude in that timeframe.”

James Milne, the AppLabs consultant at Turquoise said testing followed the usual agile development format with code being developed and released in short sprints, and testing being executed after each delivery.

“This was combined with a series of workshops either prior to, or during, each sprint where the upcoming code that was being delivered was reviewed and agreed. Any initial issues or defects which were identified as part of this static review could be addressed prior to software coding and deployment,” he said.

Turquoise chose the Borland Silk Central tool to handle the testing and defect management process. Green line's Verifix product was used perform the test key interfaces into the system and was also used to drive the performance tests.

A number of bespoke tools were provided by Cinnober, the supplier of the core trading application to drive the price feeds, and also to allow a more in-depth examination of the core system.

L’Huillier said, “We used Black Box testing, top down and bottom up testing. We also did something very unusual in that we opened our production platform to market participants one month prior to our soft launch to give them the most exposure to our functionalities and performances with full market operations support.”

AppLabs has a small team remaining on site providing support for business as usual testing and also enabling knowledge transfer to the in-house QA team. “When we have decided on an additional, significant project we will add AppLabs staffing to our current team,” said L’Huillier.

Turquoise had a soft launch with only 10 stocks from two countries around a month ago. In the weeks since it began trading it has added members, market-making, 11 more countries and trading in over 1,200 stocks.

At the launch, Eli Lederman, chief executive of Turquoise, said: “We’re thrilled to have reached this point with Turquoise, having assembled a first-class team and executed on the plan we laid out just 10 months ago. Our controlled roll-out of the market over the last few weeks has allowed us to introduce Turquoise responsibly."

"While we’re very pleased with the initial market share gains, we know that volumes develop over time. More important is to have launched as we now have, and to have established Turquoise credentials with market-leading technology and progressive functionality,” he added.

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