We like to think of Citizen development more broadly than just building applications. As areas of software development and software engineering become more accessible to business users, you’ll often hear about Citizen Integrators and Citizen Data Scientists and more generally Citizen IT.
We view Citizen development broadly as business users creating, integrating and iterating data-driven solutions that enable anyone to surface important business insights.
Typically, a citizen developer is anyone outside of IT who is building business applications in addition to their full-time responsibilities. Citizen developers are not professional IT application developers and typically do not have formal software development training.
Successful citizen developers tend to have backgrounds in areas like business analysis, project management, engineering, operations and think in logical terms.
Some organization are beginning to integrate citizen development into roles and teams. Key benefits to the business are: better ROI on application resources because of the high cost specialized IT developers and a more agile business because of the increase in resources that can develop solutions.
By scaling citizen development across your organization more of your people become engaged with development and innovation. Not only does this empower your people to turn ideas into solutions faster, it also empowers them to achieve operational agility by turning adaptability and flexibility into a competitive advantage.
Citizen development is a practice that unites IT and business teams. It involves people, process and technology. Companies enable citizen development safely and sustainably by putting in place processes, controls, practices and centers-of-excellence for governing and growing citizen development across the company.
As more businesses begin to embrace citizen development here is a look back at an October 2015 interview with Mark Driver, a Research Vice President in Gartner’s Technology and Service Provider division, on how to enable citizen development in your organization.
Whether you're in IT, business operations, or some other part of the business tasked with driving operational efficiency, elements of "Lean" thinking likely characterize at least some aspects of how you currently solve problems and accelerate digital transformation across your organization.
Companies that decide to proactively embrace Citizen Development as a strategy can't just say "let's do it" and allow things to run amok. Setting the foundation before forging ahead will help them use citizen developers to further the goals of the company and embrace the needs of the employees.