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Citizen Development Agility
Quixy Editorial Team
December 4, 2023
Reading Time: 8 minutes

On one hand, businesses are going full throttle on digitizing their operations, but on the other hand, IT talent shortages hamper the timely implementation of complex software. However, no-code development platforms are proving to be effective.  

No-code platforms reduce development complexity to the point where business users, aka citizen developers, can create solutions without knowing programming, APIs, or how to deploy web or mobile apps. No-code citizen development solutions, which are frequently packaged as SaaS (software as a service) or PaaS (platform as a service), simplify many complex aspects of development so that business users and IT teams can become more agile and focus on generating functionality. 

By embracing these no-code solutions, project managers may serve the diverse and often siloed interests of both IT and business as IT project leaders and business process stakeholders. 

But what are the advantages of no-code development, and how can you put them into practice in your project teams? 

The answer could be in citizen development — creating a group of non-technical team members to take up some of the tasks that IT teams can’t focus on due to lack of bandwidth. 

According to Gartner, citizen developers will build 80% of all technological products by 2024. This rapid spread is attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic: new business models and processes arose as organizations hurried to implement cloud services and digital initiatives to deal with a distant workforce. These occurrences coincided with the rapid adoption of agile frameworks in recent years, which place a premium on speed and shorter development cycles. Along with developer scarcity, all of this has allowed citizen developers to fix various issues. 

What is the impact of citizen development? 

As citizen development continues to grow, its impact is evident across a wide array of fields. Citizenship development initiatives typically include building automated business processes. Routine, repeatable, and rules-based automation are the guiding principles.

AI and machine learning tools with no-code or low-code have made it easier for business users to democratize AI through improved decision-making. 

It is possible for enterprises to build AI and machine learning applications without any coding expertise. Low-Code and no-code platforms with simple drag-and-drop features allow data scientists to build machine-learning applications and lighten their workload. The platforms make it easy to build and train ML models, just as no-code and low-code development platforms help build software applications quickly without coding. You can also check out Citizen Developer’s Toolbox: Insights and Strategies from Our eBook-Innovate and Empower: A Journey through Citizen Development!

In general, some areas where citizen developers can prove to be of massive value for organizations are: 

  • Citizen development programs can support HR, Marketing, Supply Chain, Finance, IT help desk, and facilities management functions. 
  • It is possible for citizen developers to enhance corporate processes within apps or create better or more unified user interfaces for existing apps. 
  • A workflow automation system can automate end-to-end processes involving multiple systems or data sets. 

Citizen development from an agility standpoint  

In today’s organizations, there is a lot of unmet demand that central IT solution teams can’t address. When citizen developers are given no-code tools, they can build solutions ten times faster than if they had to rely on programming alone. They tackle problems as they arise, creating applications that are unlikely to be quickly built by IT, given the number of projects they handle. Developers and architects may focus on more complicated solutions that offer real value to the business. It translates to higher overall productivity. The use of low-code/no-code automation can cut custom app development time by 50% to 90%.

Embracing no-code means adopting a philosophy that prioritizes user empowerment. However, it would help if you had a new software development life cycle that is flexible and built on agile principles to empower consumers. You also require a framework to assist citizen developers in rapidly developing applications and getting real-time feedback from stakeholders.  

Also Read: What is Citizen Development: A Comprehensive Guide

Enabling agility with citizen development  

Understanding citizen development is one thing, but understanding how to scale it is another. To successfully adopt and scale citizen development, your organization needs to: 

  • Establish a governance structure. 
  • Reimagine rules of engagement with IT departments and business users. 
  • Reskill and upskill your workforce with agile future competencies, including digital literacy and citizen development proficiency. 
  • Equip your workforce with the required no-code tools.  

Discover your organization’s readiness for citizen development. Start your organizations’s CD assessment now!

Enabling Agility

Without the aforementioned considerations, citizen development applications may cause more harm than good, causing extra work or confusion instead of solving a problem. Your citizen development practitioners need tools to design and build their applications within the context of the business and the entire organization. 

The Key Future Technology Lies in Citizen Development.

Here are the points to support that citizen development is the future of agile software development:

Business users take center stage in citizen development.

With their first-hand knowledge of their processes and requirements, applications built through citizen development are more likely to succeed. Business users building their own applications know exactly what functionality is essential, resulting in more powerful and effective apps.

Bid farewell to backlogs with Citizen Development

With the increasing desire for software applications to streamline various processes and functions, the demand for app development can result in a backlog of projects. Empowering every functional team member through citizen development allows multiple projects to be pursued simultaneously, leaving no room for backlogs and making milestones easier to reach.

Empower Your Teams with Citizen Development for Unmatched Resilience

The fast-paced business environment calls for a more flexible and diverse software talent pool to tackle constantly evolving needs. Citizen development steps in as a solution by expanding the pool of skilled individuals who can build, innovate, and add value. By leveraging the expertise of employees from various departments, organizations can efficiently drive multiple projects and meet the high demand for innovation and new apps, resulting in unmatched resilience.

Also Read: The Secrets of App Development: Building Excellence

Accelerate the process with Citizen Development

Citizen developers help speed up the development process by expanding the pool of talent and reducing reliance on a limited number of experienced software developers. No-Code or low-code platforms streamline innovation and cut down on delivery time. With the assistance of citizen developers, multiple minimum viable products can be created in the same amount of time it would take to develop just one without them, resulting in a significantly reduced cycle time.

Maximize efficiency and minimize cost

With the advent of no-code and low-code platforms, the need for a large team of coding experts is eliminated. Businesses no longer have to spend time and money searching for highly skilled software developers. Internal staff with little to no technical expertise can create applications using these platforms, saving companies valuable resources and increasing profitability.

No more scrambling for technical talent

As businesses strive for digital transformation, the demand for technical skills has skyrocketed, particularly in the tech sector. Citizen development can eliminate lag times and speed up the development process with proper training. Organizations can train business users to develop applications, augment existing software development expertise and relieve the burden on the core development team, enabling them to handle ad-hoc requirements effectively.

Boost Your Productivity with Agile Methodology

Maximizing productivity through agility is made possible by the involvement of citizen developers. They streamline business processes through automation, making it easy for teams to handle a higher workload. By empowering employees to utilize technology in their daily tasks, citizen development fosters a culture of adaptability within the organization, leading to increased productivity and overall business agility.

Watch Webinar: Accelerate your Agile Development Transformation with No-Code/Low-Code

Conclusion  

With the rise of citizen developers, the extent of democratization of software development is also rising, which is significantly facilitating agile application development. Citizen Development has the potential to be a game-changer for organizations looking to increase their agility in 2024. By empowering employees with the tools to build custom applications, organizations can save time, increase efficiency, and stay ahead of the competition. With low-code no-code technology reducing custom app development time by 50% to 90%, organizations can quickly and easily create the solutions they need to keep pace with the fast-changing business environment. Citizen Development holds the key to building truly agile future teams and now is the time to start embracing this transformative technology.

As more companies adopt a hybrid workforce model, it’s critical to direct non-technical staff toward citizen development rather than burden remote-based IT personnel with day-to-day troubleshooting. No-Code platforms are democratizing and speeding up innovation by allowing business analysts, product designers, and marketers to act as citizen engineers. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Here, we have answered some common questions about citizen development and how it can help organizations become more agile in the coming years.

What are the basic skills required for Citizen Developer?

Citizen developers require several skills, including a basic understanding of software development. Citizen developers should also understand security and compliance standards to ensure that their applications meet the necessary regulations. Finally, they must be willing to learn continuously and stay up-to-date with the latest technologies and trends in the industry.

What is the importance of Citizen Development?

Citizen development is important because it empowers non-technical individuals to create and deploy software solutions within their organizations. This approach to application development can help organizations become more agile by reducing the dependence on traditional IT departments and their often-lengthy development cycles.
With citizen development, business users can quickly create applications that meet their specific needs, enabling them to respond rapidly to changes in the market and stay ahead of the competition. Additionally, citizen development can improve collaboration and innovation within an organization by allowing individuals with different backgrounds and perspectives to contribute to the development process. Overall, citizen development can help organizations become more responsive, efficient, and competitive in today’s fast-paced business environment.

What are the key characteristics of a Citizen Developer?

The key characteristics of a citizen developer are as follows:
Business-oriented mindset: Citizen developers should have a business-oriented mindset, which means they understand the organization’s goals and objectives and how their applications can contribute to achieving them.

Basic technical skills: Citizen developers need basic technical skills, such as an understanding of programming languages, web development, and database management.

Problem-solving ability: Citizen developers should be able to analyze problems, identify potential solutions, and implement them.

Creativity and innovation: Citizen developers should be able to come up with new & innovative ideas for applications that can solve business problems.
Collaboration skills: Citizen developers should be able to work effectively with other team members, such as business analysts, IT professionals, and end-users.

Continuous learning: Citizen developers should be willing to learn continuously and stay up-to-date with the latest technologies and trends in the industry.
Understanding of security and compliance standards: Citizen developers should understand security and compliance standards to ensure that their applications meet the necessary regulations.

What is an example of citizen development?

An example of citizen development is when a business user creates a custom application using low-code or no-code development tools to solve a specific business problem. For instance, suppose a sales team wants a tool to manage their customer contacts more efficiently. In that case, a sales team member with basic technical skills could use a low-code platform to create a simple application that allows them to input and manage customer data.
This application could be developed and deployed quickly with Quixy, with little or no involvement from the IT department. The sales team could then use this tool to track customer interactions and improve sales performance. This is just one example of how citizen development can help organizations become more agile by empowering business users to create applications to meet their needs.

What is a Citizen Developer?

A citizen developer is a non-professional software developer who creates and deploys software applications using low-code or no-code development platforms. Citizen developers may have little or no formal training in software development but possess some basic technical skills and have a good understanding of their organization’s needs and goals. They use low-code or no-code development tools that allow them to create applications using visual interfaces and pre-built modules, making it easier for them to develop and deploy applications quickly without relying on traditional IT departments. Citizen developers can help organizations become more agile and responsive by creating custom applications that meet specific business needs quickly and efficiently.

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