Company Announcement, Interviews

Andrew has joined Contino’s US team as Client Principal. Jason McDonald sits down with him to find out the barriers facing enterprises in the region and how they can be addressed...

Why don’t you tell us a bit about your background?

After spending several years moving up the sales ranks at AT&T, I most recently spent two and a half years as Region Business Development Manager for Pivotal Software. Here I focused particularly on their cloud-native professional services offerings. Pivotal afforded me the opportunity to focus on what I am most passionate about: the people/process dynamic of software delivery. When an enterprise is augmenting its software delivery style (i.e. waterfall to agile), so much is about changing hearts and minds, and stripping away organizational blockers. What I liked about Pivotal  is that they aim to help enterprises navigate the new world of software delivery the interwovenness of DevOps, cloud and its associated tooling through leading by example, rather than procuring roadmaps and coaching. This is also Contino’s core focus and what ultimately what led me to this new opportunity.

How did you end up at Contino?

I came across an article posted on LinkedIn, titled ‘Why Production Releases Are Dominated By FEAR,’ by Carlos Nunez, a Technical Principal at Contino. The article spoke to similar conversations I was having in my current job, though I had never heard of Contino.

As I read more blog posts and researched the company further, my interest in the company grew. I then sent a cold LinkedIn message to Matt (Co-founder and CEO) asking if he was looking to expand in the US. “Yes” was the answer. So this opportunity came about to start building the business to the west of its current bases in New York and Boston. I wasn’t in a place where I was looking to leave my current company, but the potential to be responsible for building the business from scratch in the western half of the US was something that I couldn’t ignore. After I met Matt and Seb (VP of Sales) in person, I decided that this was the right move to make.

I’m really excited to have an opportunity to build something from the ground up with Contino in the US and to be in a company that, relatively speaking, is a startup in this space. I’m looking forward to crafting a message for how Contino approaches that Midwest/West market in the US.

Speaking of which, what’s your view on the current market situation in that region?

Generally speaking, companies based on the US coasts (San Francisco, New York, Boston, etc.) are comparatively more mature in their adoption of cloud-native processes and tools. That isn’t to say that the enterprises based in-between the coasts are blind to what good cloud-native software delivery looks like, they just haven’t yet hit a level of maturity or cleared organizational roadblocks (again, generally speaking). This is what excites me most about leading the westward expansion of Contino’s business.

Commonly, these large enterprises know they have to make a change to their software delivery process and begin to determine their own destiny in terms of software iteration, but they struggle to make the business case for the investment and introducing different ways of working.

Contino’s approach to working with the client to build a meaningful product as a vehicle for learning is the most effective way to clear organizational hurdles and begin to teach by doing. We work with the client teams to define areas of need and determine the products to be built, so that we can have an immediate impact by helping to embed, upskill and scale DevOps/Agile/cloud-native principles in the organization.

So where are the key problems and how can these be addressed?

Some of the barriers are partly the result of the constraints of technological platforms and a misunderstanding around how they can be best used specifically around the human element of software delivery (as embodied in, say, Agile or Extreme Programming). When taking a cloud-native and/or DevOps software delivery approach, excellent collaboration and communication between developers based on a flexible delivery model is extremely important - alongside a platform that allows them to operate that way. Both ‘good behavior’ and ‘good tooling’  are needed to develop good software.

A lot of times, these enterprises need someone to illustrate how it could change. Based on my experiences, that’s the most important part: to help them paint a picture of what they could do. Making the art of the possible come to life.

So what should US enterprises be doing? What are the challenges and opportunities?

Very simply, the transition to being a cloud-native enterprise is all about defining the value to the business of being able to determine your own software destiny. What does it mean to your business to be absolutely sure that you are building the right product because you are basing it on end-user feedback? What does it mean to be able to iterate on that feedback as rapidly as it comes in?

It’s not just about getting to the cloud with one application at all costs and regardless of how and to what end, for example. That does nothing if the overall delivery model isn’t changed alongside - that’s what has to change. Operating in the cloud is a tool that can help with that by providing the speed, flexibility and scalability that allows for rapid product iteration and deployment.

It’s a difficult task for such large corporations to change and we must be empathetic to that challenge. Change - regardless of within an enterprise or in personal life is one of the hardest human tasks. And what’s the best way to overcome ‘change anxiety’? To put wins on the board. Contino has a framework called Momentum, aimed specifically at starting small within an organization to move rapidly and prove out how Cloud-Native software delivery works within their four walls.

Thanks, Andrew!

You’re welcome!

Interested in working with us? We’re hiring! Check out our current vacancies across the UK, US & Australia.



DevOps Insights Directly to Your Inbox!

Join thousands of your peers and subscribe to our best content, news, services and events.

  • Jason McDonald


    Jay is a former International Equity Trader turned IT Pro. Prior to Contino, Jay spent four years leading the Professional Services Practice at Amazon Web Services. Jay has 20 years of diversified IT and Business experience leading Enterprises through complex Cloud and DevOps transformations across financial, healthcare, life science, manufacturing and CPG industries. 

    More Articles by Jason