Embracing citizen development as a strategic imperative enables companies to accelerate digital transformation and grow their business potential. Recognizing the power that citizen developers bring in furthering company goals and addressing employee needs is a critical first step but figuring out where to go from there will determine success.
Citizen development is the enterprise practice of business professionals building, deploying and continuously improving upon critical business applications. Citizen developers can bring this added value in a secure, controlled and disciplined manner that is sanctioned and governed by IT, all without being trained in a technology discipline.
Citizen development allows companies to quickly roll out solutions to business problems as they arise. Traditionally, utilizing software solutions means relying on overburdened IT departments. Instead of adding to the IT backlog, citizen development empowers those closest to the work to craft their own custom solutions while still maintaining necessary governance controls set by IT.
Ensuring that company leadership recognizes this value is important to getting the full buy-in needed for a successful start. The foundation for effective implementation begins with determining how citizen development fits into your current business structure and empowering the right people to lead the charge in becoming citizen developers.
To effectively move forward with citizen development initiatives keep these three essential steps in mind:
1. Every single department has a “go-to” person who’s a resource when team members run into a process issue or roadblock. These are the people who understand the pain points of the business best, making them a key resource for developing solutions. Citizen development is a vital way to connect these problem solvers with the resources they need to turn these obstacles into opportunity. There are a few different ways to go about identifying such individuals.
- Send out a request to each department asking about current issues they are looking to solve, and which team members are seen as the point person for these problems. The same characteristics that make someone a key resource on their team are what can make them successful citizen developers. These individuals are constantly testing and analyzing to solve problems, they dig in on process to identify roadblocks and build out better workflows, and they leverage their tech-savvy side to address these issues. The advanced capabilities of low-code platforms will give their expertise in continuous improvement the platform needed to magnify impact.
- Keeping the themes of collaboration and process innovation at the core of this outreach will help to soften this ask and highlight the value that can be brought to each department.
2. The IT department is a key partner in making citizen development successful. They are the experts when it comes to understanding governance, controls, regulatory, and security issues that business users may not be as familiar with. When setting up a solution platform for business application development, IT support is essential for establishing these proper controls. Making IT teams a core collaborator in citizen development initiatives will strengthen implementation and go a long way in getting cooperation from users who are familiar with utilizing IT as a resource.
3. Taking these previous steps to build a strong foundation is essential, but the process can’t stop there. Facilitating consistent communication between IT and citizen developers across departments will secure ongoing success, be it through regular roundtables or routine check-ins. Ensuring there’s an outlet to discuss what’s new, what’s working, and what issues are holding teams back will help identify problems early and make it easier to share knowledge across the organization as it’s learned.
- Citizen development is all about creating agile solutions effectively and efficiently so having this regular access to feedback is vital for continued improvement. Citizen developers bring immense value to their business and help lessen the load on IT; creating a space for these groups to collaborate embraces the power of their partnership.