IT governance has never been more important for directors of complex, one-off projects. A venture like rolling out nationwide EV charging stations might rely on dozens, if not hundreds, of applications to keep all the moving parts in sync. Good governance ensures those apps provide the right value to the project while protecting all the shared data.
When lean project IT teams are tasked with designing, prototyping, and testing the bespoke apps that make big projects run, their bandwidth is strained. Governance takes a back seat to delivering software quickly so project leaders can work efficiently.
No-code software development allows non-technical app users, AKA “citizen developers,” to take that burden off of IT and quickly build their own bespoke business applications. Then project leaders can elevate their IT teams and become governance-first organizations—providing better visibility into the software that runs their project and more confidence that it’s safe and successful.
The first action an IT team with newly available capacity can take is to codify standards and best practices for developing apps. That’ll help citizen developers design solutions that are both secure and aligned with the overall project’s goals.
Some of the topics an IT governance policy for no-code developers should address include:
Data security and user privacy
Build, test, and deploy procedures
Project tracking and reporting
There are two important considerations when instructing IT to create this policy. First, it should allows users the freedom to prototype a wide variety of applications. After all, one of the most significant benefits of no-code app development is the ability to include particular features that aren’t found in existing solutions.
Second, the policy should be reviewed at regular intervals. Needs, technology, and users change regularly. An out-of-date policy will throttle app development.
As no-code development ramps up on a project, the IT team can take a quality control role to monitor the activity of citizen developers. This structure balances the speed of citizen developers with the safety of apps that securely deliver on the user’s needs.
And just like inspectors who verify that a house is built to code at multiple stages, IT professionals can review an app at various stages of development. That’ll help make sure the citizen developer doesn’t waste time building an app that will need extensive rework to be in compliance.
Without the burden of creating apps, IT professionals can create structured educational opportunities for their citizen developers. That training can come in many different forms.
For example, IT can offer training events like internal webinars that focus on different aspects of creating better, safer apps. They could also create documentation, like user manuals, for their teams.
For more hands-on learning, IT can set up sandbox environments where users “play” with app development. Citizen developers will gain skills and confidence in risk-free scenarios with IT guiding them. And if several non-technical people build apps, IT can moderate a developer forum where users share inspiration and tips.
Beyond training, IT can become a certification body that verifies new users’ ability to build no-code apps.
Defining roles, responsibilities, and permissions
Setting guardrails around who can build apps, what types of apps they can create, and which information those apps have access to are important ways to make sure innovation happens quickly and safely.
For example, IT may:
Certify users at different levels to build apps with varying complexities
Decide which types of business apps are best for citizen development
Define which integration channels are safe for user-generated apps
Maintain control of encryption keys
In turn, app builders can create their own guardrails by setting permissions for other users within the apps they build. That way, the right people are driving innovation without threatening the integrity of the software.
With the right no-code software solution, IT can monitor and control these levers directly from the platform.
Cataloging and prioritizing app development
In a large project, multiple teams will have similar goals. For example, the group in charge of securing real estate for charging stations will need to track budgets just like the team that manages the supply chain. There could be a lot of duplicated work if each team develops its own app to manage its budget.
In a governance-first system, IT creates a catalog of proposed and in-progress business apps. They’ll also track available APIs. This 10,000-foot view of all project app activity gives stakeholders visibility into what everyone is building—reducing duplicate efforts and letting project leaders keep an eye on progress.
Additionally, an IT-led app library opens the door for more thoughtful interoperability. That will help keep dispersed project teams collaborating more efficiently.
Creating and facilitating a community
Innovation loves company. As a project grows in scope and complexity, the apps that enable it will have to follow suit. Having a forum where citizen developers can collaborate, share tips, and get inspiration will accelerate app creation to keep up with the project’s needs.
IT is ideally suited to host and facilitate that community of non-technical developers. They can offer ask-me-anything type educational events. And they can identify trending topics that could benefit from codified policies or manuals.
Tracking performance and improving processes
Project leaders can keep their finger on the pulse of internal app development and app performance when IT has the resources to track citizen development progress.
But tracking isn’t just about visibility. As more apps are prototyped, launched, and used, IT will have the ability to see how efficient the current development and approval process is—then update it to improve the rate of innovation.
Approving no-code platforms
Project leaders have to decide which no-code tools they allow citizen developers to use. A no-code platform should enable users to quickly produce bespoke apps that solve significant business challenges and are built to prioritize security and compliance. No-code tools should simplify integrations and give stakeholders visibility into who is building what.
IT has the skillset to scrutinize no-code software solutions to find the right fit for a project’s goals and scope. They can verify users aren’t relying on lo-fi tools like excel spreadsheets that don’t offer the security and control of an enterprise-grade platform.
With IT resource spent on governance, they can take the lead on finding a platform that balances performance and agility with smart controls that leads to secure, practical applications. And then expand that scrutiny to overseeing the entire citizen development process.