Connamara Quarterly – Q32019

Thoughts from our CEO

Recently we have added User Experience (UX) Designers to our software engineering teams at Connamara. This step was made partially to improve the aesthetics of the user interfaces we build for our clients, but also, for certain projects, to provide a means for visually representing the user story of the feature under consideration.

Connamara also prides itself on our agile approach to delivering software. We recognize the fact that not all requirements for any software project can be known upfront. We also acknowledge that requirements will change during the course of a project. Thus, our development process is designed for these two absolutes.

However, I’ve learned recently that UX design doesn’t always fit neatly into agile development. Unlike agile approaches, UX design processes attempt to capture every requirement upfront and “lock down” the design with pixel perfect precision. Having learned this, I am now starting the process of self-education and research to design an approach for Connamara that includes the UX designer as an integrated member of a cross-functional agile team. I want to take the best of what UX design has to offer and integrate it into our agile process.

I plan on writing more on this topic in coming months as I work through this challenge. In the meantime, if anyone reading this would like to share their ideas or experiences in integrating UX design into an agile development process, please feel free to reach out. I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts.

— Jim Downs

Industry Insights

Getting To Market Fast Is The Difference Between Success Or Failure

By: John Lothian News

JLN News – Developing new markets, especially when there is strong competition, is all about speed: not microseconds, but days, weeks or months. It’s been proven time and again with failed exchanges that it simply took too long to get to the starting gate. Eurex US, the Eurex effort to…
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In The News

Articles to reflect upon

Santelli Exchange: Father of 30-year bond futures launches interbank lending alternative


American Financial Exchange (AFX), a Connamara client, facilitates a new interest rate benchmark: American Interbank Overnight Rate (AMERIBOR®). AFX CEO and Chairman Richard Sandor speaks with CNBC’s Rick Santelli about AMERIBOR futures in this video.

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American Financial Exchange (AFX) Announces Record Transaction Volume

BY: Mondo Visione

American Financial Exchange (AFX), an electronic exchange for direct lending and borrowing for American financial institutions, announced a record day of trading, with $1.043 billion outstanding across all products. The week of July 23 was also a record week with $4.66 billion traded. AFX facilitates the…
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Connamara Systems Selected by MaterialsXchange as its Matching Engine Technology Provider

BY: Business Wire

CHICAGO, IL, September 16, 2019 — Connamara Systems, a leading provider of exchange matching engine technology, today announced that it has been retained by MaterialsXchange, a startup aiming to create a digital marketplace for raw materials industries.…
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Social Spotlight

It’s Friday & #NationalComplimentDay! Today, we encourage you to compliment a co-worker and spread positivity in the workplace.


In our blog, Project Manager Kevin O’Connell explains the parallels between parenting & project management: managing time, prioritizing situations, setting expectations, establishing expertise, compiling research, knowing your audiences, and being patient.

Our Head of Business Development, Dan Curry, had a great time representing Connamara at @stachicago’s 94th Annual Mid-Winter Meeting 2020. Thank you to STAC and @HiltonChicago for hosting this successful event!


#ICYMI: On The Leadershift Show, presented by Shani Magosky and @leadershiftproj, our CEO @jcdowns explains how he shifted his mindset from working IN his business to working ON his business.

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I have been at Connamara since 2008, and I’m always building or extending something.  Being a consulting firm, we bounce from project to project, so my responsibilities change every couple months — sometimes they change by the week!  In recent years, Ive been heavily involved in QuickFIX/N (C#), rewriting a big client’s legacy order management system, and buildign a few different Ruby on Rails platforms.


We’re working with a new startup, MaterialsXchange, that is building an exchange for lumber.  We’re solely writing and designing the back-end Ruby on Rails system, and interacting with EP3, which has been really interesting.