About Me

Richard Bown

Hi, I’m Richard Bown. I’m an independent software consultant based in Amsterdam, NL.

Originally from the UK, I studied Electronic Engineering at the University of Bath before living and working in London for 8 years. I moved to Amsterdam in 2007.

Richard Bown | Content Map

I enjoy researching, writing, speaking and practising software development and delivery. I love improving software development practice and automation and enjoy talking about systems thinking approaches to delivery, embracing legacy code and investigating team topologies.

I love helping companies become nimble in their approach to architecture and software delivery. I’ve worked for over 25 years in software development and deployment of IT systems.

My History

I’ve worked as a software developer, UNIX and Linux system administrator, project manager, client-facing support, product owner, DevOps Coach, Head of Engineering among many other roles. I’ve built, integrated and delivered software systems of all types. From enterprise systems and software products, trading and billing systems to datawarehouses to reporting solutions, to open-source music and graphics software products, desktop, mobile, cloud, IoT, front-end and back-end, infrastructure.

From the Start

Dragon 32 with Programming Manual

Like so many kids in the 80s, my passion for programming started with a home computer. My first was the Dragon 32.

The Dragon must have appealed to the Welsh half of me. The tagline for the Dragon was “Fire Your Imagination”.

I learnt BASIC and started writing my own games at the age of 11.

Skip ahead to 1990 and I graduated from high school and landed a sponsorship from Motorola Land Mobile Product Systems for my degree course at Bath University.

I graduated in 1994 with a BSc and then a MEng (1995) in Electronic and Electrical Engineering.

Highlights of my career:

  • Led and implemented a new source control system (Clearcase) and defect tracking systems (DDTS) at Motorola LMPS and transitioned to HP-UX workstations for 40 engineers. This was the basis of my Masters’s Thesis “Migration in a Software Engineering Environment”
  • Getting my first taste of customer visits at Nortel Networks by doing live, overnight upgrades for telecoms systems. Being on pager duty and the way that made me feel – made me realise that reliability in software upgrades and how a company treats on-call staff were both important subjects.
  • Creating greater than 10x performance improvements in Informix (RDBMS) database upgrades while working at Nortel Networks (Bell Northern Research) in order to reduce downtime window for network management.
  • Being one of the core creators of a leading open-source piece of music software called Rosegarden (which is over 30 years old and still going strong).
  • Building suites of repeatable, re-runnable automation scripts and processes to improve reliability for a variety of high volume, back-office accounting systems using Oracle, Sybase, DB2 (and many other RDBMS) for investment banks (Greenwich Natwest, Rabobank International, ING), also at Swiss Re (credit insurance) and Debenhams (retail)
  • As part of JP Morgan’s Jupiter Swaps Trading System team, I created a tool to decode and allow prioritisation of in-flight messages having significant $$$ customer impact.
  • Managed multiple > $1m projects for IT infrastructure and DevOps migrations. At Rabobank led an LCM project for an infrastructure decommissioning project, +1000 user Clearcase migration at JP Morgan, as Head of Engineering at Twinfield Wolters Kluwer led decommissioning of TeamCity CI/CD and move to Azure DevOps, at Shell I helped move 2500+ developers from TeamCity to Azure DevOps.

I’ve recently become a full member of the Chartered Association of Project Managers where I’m active in the Systems Thinking SIG.