From Crisis to Collaboration: How Citizen Development Promotes Agility

Written By: Denise O'Berry
July 15, 2020
3 min read

Companies have seen an unprecedented amount of challenges hurtling through their doors in the last 18 months. From the early days of the pandemic leading into supply chain shortages and labor challenges, organizations have needed to react rapidly to a multitude of issues. And the more agility these organizations can build, the more effective they can be.

Before the pandemic wreaked havoc around the world, the digital native, tech-savvy workforce was already becoming more flexible and adaptable. These employees solved problems by finding and creating tools without experiencing bottlenecks throughout the organization.

But doing so in a way that brings IT into the equation and effectively builds collaboration across the organization is critical to making this a sustainable, organization-wide practice

Shifting the Paradigm

As IT leaders know full well, leaders are struggling to adapt to their increasing backlog and needs across the organization. With this in mind, progressive IT leaders are tapping into the power of teams across the business to help reduce strain on their overextended IT department. Javier Polit, CIO at Mondelēz, espouses the value of “getting hands on keyboards” to activate the edge of the business. The expectation then shifts with quick wins coming in days and weeks, instead of months.

Collaboration between all departments and open-minded communication will yield positive results for businesses that are willing to take this step. And this comes from experience – “We see that the most successful teams are managing Quickbase by collaborating with IT,” said Neil Beschle, Customer Success Manager at Quickbase.

Driving the shift with governance

Effectively navigating this paradigm shift with IT still having its hands on the wheel comes through effective governance. To remove the barriers between teams, building an effective governance framework will drive the impact of transformation across your entire organization. As we detailed at Empower, this comes with three early steps.

  • Identify your people: Taking specific time to understand the key roles your team needs, clarify expectations, and identify the gaps on your team will allow you to determine who can lead the charge in transformation initiatives.
  • Build out effective policy: With IT in control, setting the right guardrails and rules will ensure that teams looking to innovate will strongly understand their role and that their work is within secure standards.
  • Set a smooth process: Effective communication throughout your organization is critical. With executive buy-in, teams will see the potential impact their work can make and the value it has for their organization.

The role of no-code

Many citizen developers create solutions tailored to solve their unique pain points. No-code platforms offer deep customization and a broad range of technology solutions. They also provide data security that may be lacking in other unvetted options. The ability of no-code applications to build agility for many companies will continue to shape how they work.

No-code platforms not only encourage employees to solve the challenges they are closest to, but they also empower the entire business to continue to add value to their departments and the company. A cohesive, organization-wide approach to citizen development promotes innovation instead of tension and disapproval. While facing workforce reductions and a collection of unprecedented challenges, IT departments can use all the help that they can get. It’s time to bring these tech-confident employees under the governance of IT and let them be partners in your company’s reinvention.

This blog post was updated since it was originally published on June 30, 2020.

Written By: Denise O'Berry
Denise O’Berry gets a lot of joy from helping businesses improve day-to-day operations that impact the bottom line. Not only does her advice come from the heart, it comes from years of experience working as a team member, team leader, manager and owner of her own company. She has truly walked in your shoes. Find her at and on Twitter @deniseoberry.