Maximizing the Potential of Citizen Developers Part Three: An Emphasis on Providing Support

By Amber Wise, Low-Code/No-Code Business Analyst

As we said in Part One of this series, citizen development using Low-Code/No-Code tools holds immense potential. But unlocking its power requires organizations to offer tailored training and support. We touched on the need for training in Part Two. Now we will overview necessary elements of support, including:

  • Development platforms, training tools, and collaboration
  • Quality assurance
  • Governance and data management
  • Continuous learning and improvement

Implemented correctly, these elements of support can empower your workforce to create precise applications that address business needs.

Development Platforms, Training Tools, and Collaboration 

Low-Code/No-Code Development Platforms 

At the core of citizen development lie powerful Low-Code/No-Code platforms like Microsoft Power Apps, Appian, Salesforce, OutSystems, or Pega. Thanks to their intuitive visual interfaces and a rich library of pre-built components, these user-friendly tools empower individuals to create applications without extensive coding knowledge.

Training Tools, Documentation, and Collaboration 

To unlock the full potential of citizen developers, organizations must provide c high-quality training tools for Low-Code/No-Code development, such as e-books, webinars, and platform-specific online courses. Accessible documentation, including user manuals, tutorials, and API guides, assists developers throughout the application development process.

Effective collaboration among stakeholders is also crucial. Project management tools and version control systems facilitate seamless collaboration, allowing citizen developers to work with team members, track progress, and maintain version control. This collaborative environment fosters synergy, productivity, and successful development outcomes.

Quality Assurance 

Technical and Community Support 

While Low-Code/No-Code platforms simplify application development, technical issues can still arise. Citizen developers should have access to reliable technical support to address any challenges promptly. Architect reviews for critical projects ensure adherence to best practices and architectural integrity.

In addition to technical support, organizations should tap into and build, when necessary, community support. This is essential for knowledge sharing, collaboration, and continuous learning (discussed further below). User groups, online forums, and communities specific to the chosen Low-Code/No-Code platform(s) foster an environment where practitioners can exchange experiences, seek advice, and learn from one another to ensure high quality.

Testing Tools 

Quality assurance requires citizen developers have the necessary tools and capabilities to ensure their applications are functioning properly. Testing tools help identify bugs quickly, improve performance levels, and provide a better user experience. Testing tools enable citizen developers to validate their applications, rectify issues, and ultimately develop quality applications that are reliable and secure. By investing in comprehensive testing from the start of the development process, citizen developers can ensure their applications are ready for launch.

Governance and Data Management 

Secure Development Practices Training 

Secure development practices training is an essential part of the quality assurance process for citizen developers. A comprehensive training program should cover secure coding practices, data privacy, and ethical considerations. This helps ensure applications are built with security measures, reducing risk of malicious attacks and protecting sensitive data. These practices also help ensure compliance with industry regulations and data privacy laws. To strengthen application security further, citizen developers can adopt best practices such as regular code reviews and security audits.

Governance Policies 

Citizen developers should receive comprehensive governance training that includes secure development practices, data privacy regulations, and ethical considerations. Best practices like reviews and audits mitigate risks and protect user data. Moreover, establishing clear governance policies is essential to regulate citizen development initiatives, outlining roles, responsibilities, processes, and strategies for creating, testing, and deploying applications.

These measures foster responsible development and compliance with regulations. Comprehensive testing, along with training on secure practices and governance, empowers citizen developers to create high-quality, reliable, and secure applications.

Access to Data 

Access to clean, reliable data enables citizen developers to build applications with insights derived from real-time analytics. A data governance framework with controls maintains data quality, integrity, and compliance by regulating who has access to what information and how it is used. Data governance also ensures citizen developers create applications that adhere to organizational policies as well as any applicable industry regulations. By having access to the right data at the right time, citizen developers can use their skills and knowledge to create efficient and effective applications that provide users with a better experience while protecting their sensitive information.

Continuous Learning and Improvement 

Change Management and Application Lifecycle Management 

Change is an inherent part of technology adoption. Citizen developers need guidance on managing change effectively from a technological and human perspective. Change management frameworks help citizen developers navigate the transition, ensuring smooth integration with existing workflows, user adoption, and overall project success.

Application lifecycle management also plays a role in ensuring the success and longevity of applications. Citizen developers should have access to policies and tools that support the application lifecycle. This includes designing, developing, deploying, maintaining, and eventually retiring or replacing applications. Effective lifecycle management improves application stability, scalability, and user satisfaction.

Feedback Mechanisms and Continuous Learning 

Feedback and continuous learning are crucial for driving improvement and innovation in Citizen Development. Gathering user feedback and utilizing feedback tools allow citizen developers to make iterative improvements aligned with user needs. Continuous learning ensures developers stay updated with the latest technologies, best practices, and tools, empowering them to enhance their application development outcomes.

A Unified Approach 

As you can see, citizen Development’s success relies on collective effort. This means embracing and supporting citizen developers to make a transformative impact that forwards digital transformation. Low-Code/No-Code platforms offer features, resources, and support channels for efficient application development. But it is by investing in, supporting, and empowering citizen developers that organizations can drive innovation in the digital landscape.

For more information on how Octo’s Low-Code/No-Code team can help implement end-to-end citizen development, best practices, and modern approaches within your federal agency workforce, contact us now.