About Richard Banks

You want to know something about me? How flattering :-)

I'm an Australian, living in Sydney, NSW.  I spend my non-work time split amongst the family, church, playing games (Lord of the Rings Online is my favorite time sink), recording podcasts, blogging (obviously!), running a user group, tweeting, and even occasionally sleeping.

Short Speaker Bio

If you need to grab a short Bio about me then feel free to cut and paste this bit:

Richard Banks has developed software for the last 20 years for a wide range of industries and development platforms and over the years and has filled many roles including developer, team lead, project manager and CIO/CTO.  He is a Professional Scrum Trainer, author of the Visual Studio 2012 Cookbook, runs the Sydney Alt.Net user group and the Talking Shop Down Under podcast, owns and contributes to a few open source projects and has spoken at Microsoft Tech.Ed and a number of other events and user groups around the country. For some strange reason he gets a real kick out of helping development teams to improve and produce great software. If you want to get in touch he tweets at @rbanks54 and blogs at http://www.richard-banks.org/.  He currently works as a Principal Consultant for Readify and is a Microsoft Visual Studio ALM MVP.

And Now the Much Longer, Rambling Version...

I first got hooked on development back when the Commodore 64 was the machine of choice.  Ah the sweet glory of 8-bits and tape loaded software!  That fired a passion in me for software which carried through to my Uni days where I did a double major in Computer Science and even got holiday jobs cutting code.  My first job out of Uni involved working in a small team of 5 developing warehousing and logistics systems on mid-frame machines and pc's.  From there I moved into other environments and other jobs and as I did I noticed something that at first I just blew off, but that gradually became somewhat of an itch I had to scratch.

Small organisations and small teams could get a lot done in a short space of time however quality and maintainability was usually an issue.  Larger organisations, who I thought would know how to do software development better, were actually much slower even though they had larger teams and bigger budgets.  In fact they generally produced worse software than the small teams and cost more to do so.  So, what was the problem?  Was it the tools, was it the project management, was it something else?  Then one day as I was reading the Mythical Man Month it occurred to me that the issue is and has always been people.  No matter how good the process, if the people aren't up to it, the result will be poor.  And no matter how poor the process, good people will always get a result.

It was around this time as I was starting to scratch that itch that I first ran across agile development.  Agile  resonated very strongly with me and I finally saw a way that both large and small teams could deal with the problems that beset them.

I want to see software done better.  I want to see software released with higher quality and greater usability.  Software that is fun to use and that doesn't break if you look at it the wrong way.  Software that makes people smile.  I want to see developers proud of what they do and passionate about it, not being brow beaten by management, told what to do, how to do it, how long it will take and not to argue.  I want to see organisations cut the red tape and wasted effort that they have and become much more efficient at getting projects done, being more responsive to their customers and ceasing to spend millions of dollars every year on things that add nothing to the bottom line. I want to see development tools improve.  I want to see development techniques improve.  I want to see applications that are a pleasure to maintain and manage once they're deployed rather than being regarded as things of horror that you get the new hire to work on simply because asking anyone else to do it would likely result in them leaving. It's these things that drive me and these things that line up with a desire to improve what we do each and every day.

ALM, Agile, Scrum, Alt.Net, Code Katas and so forth are the best  tools and techniques we know right now that can help meet the goal of improving and it's why I have invested so much time into them and why I have a desire to see organisations and individual developers make the most of them and start down the path themselves of continual improvement.

Books


The Talking Shop Down Under Podcast
User Groups/Communities I Help Run:
Public Speaking:
  • Visual Studio 11 new bits (Sydney Alt.Net, April 2012)
  • Estimating and Planning a Product Backlog (RDN Dev Day, Feb 2012)
  • What's new: Windows 8 and Visual Studio 11 (RDN Dev Day, Oct 2011)
  • Dispelling the 'Myth' - Automated Testing Simplified (Readify Business Breakfast, Oct 2011)
  • An MMO in 45 Minutes: Developing for 2 screens and a cloud (Tech Ed Australia, 2011)
  • Getting out of sync with IIS and riding the Comet (DDD Sydney, July 2011)
  • Hiring People for Agile Teams (Agile Australia, June 2011)
  • Understanding Existing Applications with Visual Studio 2010 (Microsoft Lunch Bytes, March 2011)
  • Agile Development (ILTA User Group, March 2011)
  • Lessons Learned From Agile Implementations  (Code Project Agile Virtual Summit - 2011)
  • Agile From a Developers Perspective (Keynote, Code Project Agile Virtual Summit - 2011)
  • Software Testing: A Career of Choice (ACS Testing SIG - 2011)
  • DEV362 - Unit Testing with VS2010 and TFS2010 (TechEd Australia 2010)
  • You Look Like a Monkey And Smell Like One Too (aka mocking) (DDDSydney - 2010)
  • Unit Testing with VS2010 (Australian ALM conference - 2010)
  • Lessons Learned from Agile Implementations (Australian ALM conference - 2010)
  • Vendor Management - from the Vendors perspective! (SBTUG - 2010)
  • Architecture in the Small (Sydney Architecture User Group - 2009)
  • Software Quality and Application Lifecycle Management with SketchFlow and VS/TFS2010 Beta 2 (RDN Dev Days - 2009)
  • Agile and TFS (RDN Dev Days - 2008)
  • Microsoft Code Contracts (Sydney Alt.Net Group - 2009)
  • MSTest and Mocking Frameworks using both C# and VB.Net (Sydney Alt.Net Group - 2008)
  • Influence Strategies (Virtual Alt.Net - 2009)
  • Architecture – Ideals vs Reality (Virtual Alt.Net - 2009)
  • Visual Studio Add-Ins (Virtual Alt.Net - 2009)
  • .NET Code contracts (RDN - 2009)
  • Introduction to Agile Development (RDN - 2008)
  • Developing with Unity (TechEd Australia - 2008)
  • The Agile Agile Session (TechEd Australia - 2008)
  • Agile development (SBTUG - 2008)
Screen Casts:
Open Source Projects:
Blog (yes, you're reading it) - http://www.richard-banks.org/

Twitter - @rbanks54