Non Functional requirements are not functional

I attended a lecture lead by Tom Gilb an American systems engineer and acclaimed author about Value Project Management Methodology EVO (Evolutionary Project Management) at BCS London. He alluded briefly to his attitudes towards Non Functional Requirements in a less than positive light this encouraged me to delve further into his works. Given that we are in the middle of a discussion and working through pieces of work that outline some core NFRs that will be used to guide and advise the future processes that other teams need to be aligned alongside the standards proposed. I thought it would be worth writing up a very brief high level view of his theories along side my own personal thoughts.

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Exchange Market Data Streaming with Kafka

At Betfair our read services are struck with billions of requests per day, they are not evenly distributed either. These requests will arrive in huge spikes of traffic during key sporting events, putting our customer facing services under huge pressure during sustained time periods throughout the day. We develop our systems to cater for this demand, keeping true to our latency SLA’s all the while operating without downtime. Unlike comparable trading platforms used in the financial world, we don’t have the option of closing trading at 5pm – sporting events occur around the clock, every day.

When we talk about read services, we are referring to anything that is presented, in real-time to customers – either through the API or via our online channels. Notably, our price read services. They were the first to move to the streaming model. If you are not familiar with financial trading, price read services present ‘ticks’ on a market to our customers – billions of them. Ticks are price/volume pairings for a given selection on a market. See below.


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Meet Betfair

Last Thursday (14th May) saw the inaugural “Meet Betfair” event take place at Betfair Towers, London. The evening featured a series of lightening talks from developers working on core Exchange technologies.

Topics ranged from a history of our architectural evolution to how continuous delivery pipelines are helping cut out manual process from our production deployments. There was even time for a quick maths lesson to discuss how probability is used to calculate odds and “cross match” bets.


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Team celebration of cross-market liquidity matching

When your teams create a market-leading product – we think it is important to go and celebrate…. on the river…with a speedboat!

This is exactly what our Exchange Platform teams did following the launch of cross-market liquidity matching – something Betfair talked about publicly in the half year financial results in December 2014: FY15 H1 results


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