Trading system WTFs



  • A couple of years ago I worked as test manager for a company who was looking to implement a trading system. The product had won awards (possibly made-up ones) and was meant to be mature. After seeing it in 'action' I had my doubts about its maturity. The relationship between us (the customer) and them (the vendor) became steadily worse as deadlines were missed and functionality not delivered. In the end this resulted in them only delivering things that were specifically documented. (Not such a WTF you might think but see numbers 1 and 4 below.)

    Here are a couple of the most memorable WTFs

    1) A year to date report were the months (X axis) were ordered alphabetically. (Refused to fix as not specified which order we wanted the months listed.)

    1. A twenty year date window (i.e. from today minus 10 years to today plus ten years) was provided with dropdown list of 7,000+ entries.

    2. Refusal to change the mis-spelling of the word 'Invoice' on a customer facing invoice as spelling mistakes were 'cosmetic' and the lowest priority issue.

    3. Numbers left justified in columns. (Refused to fix as not specified what justification we wanted for numbers.)

    4. Pulling strokes like taking an issue we'd logged, creating a duplicate and then closing them both ("Closing A as duplicate of B" and "Closing B as duplicate of A").

    I advised the client that the product was never likely to be worth putting into production but by that time too much time/money had been invested in it to write off. It turns out the time to pull plug was 18 months and who-knows-how-many millions of $ later...



  • @RTapeLoadingError said:

    1) A year to date report were the months (X axis) were ordered alphabetically. (Refused to fix as not specified which order we wanted the months listed.)

    1. A twenty year date window (i.e. from today minus 10 years to today plus ten years) was provided with dropdown list of 7,000+ entries.

    2. Refusal to change the mis-spelling of the word 'Invoice' on a customer facing invoice as spelling mistakes were 'cosmetic' and the lowest priority issue.

    3. Numbers left justified in columns. (Refused to fix as not specified what justification we wanted for numbers.)

    4. Pulling strokes like taking an issue we'd logged, creating a duplicate and then closing them both ("Closing A as duplicate of B" and "Closing B as duplicate of A").

    1: I'd have done it out of consistency. 2) Seems... Odd... 3) Thats just plain ignorant. 4) see, #1 5) thats just evil. And lazy



  •  great, so now this a an "accepted" businespractice we all have to specify the order of the dates in a month ?



  • @hallo.amt said:

     great, so now this a an "accepted" businespractice we all have to specify the order of the dates in a month ?


    Per the OP, only the order of months in a year. Though it might be as well to also specify the order of days in the month, to forestall any further issues.



  • Damn, with an order like that, year one is pretty up-and-down.

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    Sorry, I it's in German but you get the idea.



  •  I didn't even know that #5 could be done in standard business without getting fired. Looks like the rest of the month just got alot easier for me!



  • @Indrora said:

    @RTapeLoadingError said:
    1) A year to date report were the months (X axis) were ordered alphabetically. (Refused to fix as not specified which order we wanted the months listed.)

    1: I'd have done it out of consistency.

    Remind me of this whenever you're my client, and I'll sort your numbers (phone numbers, postal code, whatever) alphabetically, according to their German spelling. For the first 10 integers, that would look like this: 8, 3, 1, 5, 6, 7, 4, 10, 2. Or sort names based on mirroring the first and last halve of the string. Something like that. And then refuse to fix it, unless you pay up, of course.



  • @TGV said:

    8, 3, 1, 5, 6, 7, 4, 10, 2
     

     

    That's amazing!  I've got the same combination on my luggage!

     



  • @emurphy said:

    @TGV said:

    8, 3, 1, 5, 6, 7, 4, 10, 2
     

     

    That's amazing!  I've got the same combination on my luggage!

     

    After the first two digits I was about to say <Stewie Griffin>Damn you Tommy Tutone</Stewie Griffin> but then I caught myself



  • @Indrora said:

    @RTapeLoadingError said:
    1) A year to date report were the months (X axis) were ordered alphabetically. (Refused to fix as not specified which order we wanted the months listed.)

    1: I'd have done it out of consistency.

     

    Please tell me you're joking. Consistency of what? It's a date axis... it should be in chronological order just like every other date axes. Using that logic, if I gave you a sequence in ordinal form:

    first

    second

    third

    fourth

    fifth

    sixth

    You'd order them alphabetically all for the sake of consistency without any regard to human conventions or sanity.



  • @RHuckster said:

    Please tell me you're joking.

     

    Don't take him so seriously. He's still in high school, what does he know?



  • Sorry about that actually; It was one of my candleja-- Moments in my mind. I meant 'I'd have done it by ordinals out of consistency' -- you folks didnt get the INTENTIONAL wtf that I used 1: instead of 1).



  • @Indrora said:

    ...you folks didnt get the INTENTIONAL wtf that I used 1: instead of 1).

    Whoa, you got us.



  • @RTapeLoadingError said:

    taking an issue we'd logged, creating a duplicate and then closing them both ("Closing A as duplicate of B" and "Closing B as duplicate of A")
    I wanna kill all of these fucks



  • @belgariontheking said:

    @RTapeLoadingError said:

    taking an issue we'd logged, creating a duplicate and then closing them both ("Closing A as duplicate of B" and "Closing B as duplicate of A")
    I wanna kill all of these fucks

    For thinking of it before you did?



  • @RTapeLoadingError said:

    3) Refusal to change the mis-spelling of the word 'Invoice' on a customer facing invoice as spelling mistakes were 'cosmetic' and the lowest priority issue.

    Were I in your position, if I had access to the source code for this item such that I could also fix this, I'd just fix it, as it's quicker to do that five times than it would be to ask them to do it in the proper formal manner once.  Of course, I'd also give informal notice of the bug, and if they didn't fix it in their version in a timely fashion, I'd make sure their management knew how pathetic it made their product look.

    That having been said, I made a fix like that on a system to which I didn't have the source code for the item in question.  However, that was after I had a conversation with one of our VPs, who indicated that he thought it really showed lack of competence that we were not able to spell correctly.  I explained it wasn't our code, but I would see what I could do.  Next time he ran the code, the problem was solved.

    Since then, of course, I've learned why one *doesn't* just do things like that, but fortunately, there wasn't fallout that time.

    @RTapeLoadingError said:

    5) Pulling strokes like taking an issue we'd logged, creating a duplicate and then closing them both ("Closing A as duplicate of B" and "Closing B as duplicate of A").

    Yeah, that's almost as good as simply closing all of the bugs which take a really complex sequence of steps to trigger as duplicates of each other more or less at random.  I say, "good", because I've managed to leverage the vendor pulling that stunt to get vendor reps fired from the project.  (Yeah, they might be still at the same company, but I didn't need to deal with them any more.)  Almost as satisfying as either firing the vendor or getting the VP of engineering at the vendor fired.  Actually, since the vendor that fired their VP was otherwise stellar, and the afore-mentioned stunt was apparently his idea, I really liked getting the VP fired best.  Admittedly, that was more a matter of him getting himself fired by taking a really, really stupid stance and refusing to back down on a telecon with the founder and CEO...)



  • @hallo.amt said:

    Damn, with an order like that, year one is pretty up-and-down.

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    Sorry, I it's in German but you get the idea.

    Heh, I find it incredibly entertaining that it actually starts off with a pattern (4, 8, 12) before going completely weird.

    And in English, the only difference is that 5 and 3 are swapped.



  • @ChrisNight said:

    Trading systems suck. I bought a system and software from some salesman that said it wouldn't fail and he had proof it had made him money then when I used it I lost $2k. It's just like gambling unless you really know what you're doing.

    Cool story.



  • @belgariontheking said:

    @RTapeLoadingError said:

    taking an issue we'd logged, creating a duplicate and then closing them both ("Closing A as duplicate of B" and "Closing B as duplicate of A")
    I wanna kill all of these fucks

    Well that's pretty much how I felt every day going into work.

    My day used to start with grabbing the Excel extract from their bug tracking software (as I didn't have access to run the report which showed the open jobs) and then pasting it into a new sheet on my master spreadsheet.  I could then compare today's list with yesterday's to see what was flagged as fixed, what was just closed and what had disappeared.  I could then go into the bug tracker and start updating software and start adding comments to the tickets.

    I do remember one legendary ticket that degenerated into a slanging match over a word ("shall" vs "should") in the requirements document.  Not my most professional moment but I couldn't stop myself...



  • @ChrisNight said:

    Trading systems suck. I bought a system and software from some salesman that said it wouldn't fail and he had proof it had made him money then when I used it I lost $2k. It's just like gambling unless you really know what you're doing.

    Well the system we were testing certainly sucked.  If you'd have invested your $2k using it it would have gone something like....

    Item purchase price = $10; Total investment = $2000; Items bought = 200

    Item sale price =  $12; Items sold = 200; Total return = {Subscript out of range}

    Then your PC would hang



  • @RTapeLoadingError said:

    Then your PC would hang

    SSDS Trading System? 



  • @Tiggrrr42 said:

    SSDS Trading System? 

    "Please wait while the application hoards your trades" 

    Although, is the world ready for an entire suite of SS applications?



  • @RTapeLoadingError said:

    Although, is the world ready for an entire suite of SS applications?

    Of course!



  • @Tiggrrr42 said:

    @RTapeLoadingError said:

    Then your PC would hang

    SSDS Trading System? 

     

    It does all math by creating N number of UFO conspiracy theories then writing N, and claiming that if N is wrong that you must be in league with the aliens! Best trading system EVAR! Also importing data is simple. Just send him an excel file and he will copy-paste the data into the source and recompile for you.


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