Engineers at Bloomberg organized an unusual birthday party recently.

They blew up balloons and brought a cake and candles to celebrate a 30th anniversary.

The party wasn’t for a person, however, but an application called DRQS.

Even hardcore users of Bloomberg’s professional system may not have heard of this “function,” as applications are referred to inside the company.

That’s because DRQS (an acronym which stands for Development Request System) is an internal ticketing system used to record and track bugs and enhancements.

It’s the lifeblood of the engineering department and a key reason for the company’s success.

On the surface DRQS is the a basic function. It has a MS-DOS-like interface with drop downs to enter in whether the ticket is to fix, enhance or build features.

Each engineering group has a number, or “bucket.“

The engineers, when asked where they work, would sometimes cite the bucket number of their group. Sort of like someone in the army might say they are 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment.

The genius of DRQS was that it perfectly suited the culture. It was sturdy, yet lightweight. It avoided the kind of complexity that discourages use.

The system has a small number of categories, including OU for Operational Update, EN for Enhancment and BF for Bug Fix. WP stands for World Problem and is used for major outages.

That DRQS was built relatively early in the company’s history underscores Bloomberg’s decision to invest in crucial infrastructure. It’s the kind of thing many startups might ignore.

The ability to track and measure technological issues is crucial for any business.

Building a system that does that effectively for three decades is extraordinary.

That deserves a celebration.

Here’s the link to Instagram video:

(Part of a series about lessons I learned from three decades working at Bloomberg LP. )