Maximizing the Potential of Citizen Development: The Importance of Providing the Right Tools  

By Amber Wise, Business Analyst

Citizen Development and its Benefits    

What is citizen development? Citizen development empowers non-technical employees, such as business users, to create applications using Low-Code/No-Code platforms with minimal reliance on IT teams. It empowers individuals with business knowledge to develop solutions that meet their specific needs, accelerating the development of applications and reducing the burden on IT teams.

There are many benefits of citizen development for the organization, including faster time-to-market, increased agility, and improved productivity. It enables organizations to respond quickly to changing business needs and improve operations. Additionally, if done right, it can help bridge the gap between IT and business teams, enhancing collaboration and communication.

Tools, Training, and Governance Policies   

Individuals need the right tools, training, and governance policies to succeed in citizen development. Low-Code/No-Code platforms can help non-technical employees build applications without coding. Training ensures that they have the necessary skills to use these tools effectively. Governance policies establish development standards and processes, reducing the risk of poor-quality applications or security vulnerabilities. These elements can enable organizations to leverage citizen development, accelerate digital transformation, and foster innovation and agility in business processes. This blog will discuss the necessary tools to empower citizen developers to succeed.

The right tools    

Organizations selecting tools for citizen development should consider ease of use, integration with other systems, security, and scalability. Tools should have user-friendly interfaces, robust security features, and the ability to handle increasing user and application demands. Choosing the right tools can simplify development, ensure quality and security, and improve productivity. Low-Code/No-Code platforms and automation tools can empower employees to create applications more efficiently and cost-effectively, reducing IT backlogs.

When determining which tools are best suited for their needs, organizations should make sure to check the following items:

Consideration Questions to ask Evaluation
Ease of Use Is the software easy to use? Can users quickly learn how to utilize it?
System Integration Does the tool integrate well with other systems within your organization?
Security Is the data shared through this software secure? Are there any additional measures to be taken to protect data integrity further?
Scalability Will this system handle larger volumes of users or applications without creating bottlenecks or performance issues?
Low Code Platforms Does the software support low code platform utilization for quicker application development?
Automation Tools Does the software support automation of processes to reduce manual workloads?

Provide Resources   

Providing resources such as templates, reusable components, and libraries is critical for citizen developers, allowing them to build applications more efficiently and effectively. Templates provide a starting point for building applications, reducing the time and effort required to create applications from scratch. Reusable components and libraries provide pre-built functionality that can be easily integrated into applications, reducing the need for custom coding. In addition, resources such as training materials, documentation, and support forums can help citizen developers learn how to use low-code platforms and automation tools more effectively.

Best practices for citizen development include:

  • Developing an Application Roadmap: Having an application roadmap can help organizations plan their application development efforts more efficiently.
  • Adopting an Agile Development Process: Adopting an agile development process can help ensure that projects remain on track and meet deadlines by breaking down large projects into smaller tasks.
  • Empowering Citizen Developers: Training and providing access to resources can empower citizen developers to create high-quality and secure applications with fewer errors.
  • Leveraging Automation Tools: Automation tools can simplify complex processes, reduce manual workloads, increase productivity, and decrease development timeframes.
  • Testing Thoroughly: Quality assurance testing should be done on all developed applications to identify potential issues before deployment.
  • Establishing a Secure Environment: Organizations should implement strong policies and measures to protect data security, such as authentication procedures and encryption protocols.
  • Implementing a Governance Model: A governance model will ensure that any changes or new features are adequately reviewed before deployment to prevent unintended errors or consequences.

Examples of Tools and Resources   

Low-Code/No-Code platforms revolutionize application development, allowing citizen developers to create powerful applications with minimal coding expertise. Platforms like Appian, Salesforce, Microsoft PowerPlatform, OutSystems, Pega, and Mendix offer various tools and features specifically designed to facilitate the development of custom applications. Low-code/No-code platforms provide a variety of features and tools to help citizen developers build applications quickly and easily. Businesses should consider the following features when picking a Low-Code/No-Code platform:

  • Pre-built components and templates: This helps to reduce the time and effort required to create applications from scratch.
  • Visual development environment: This enables citizen developers to create custom applications with a no-code interface.
  • Drag-and-drop interfaces: These allow for the point-and-click building of apps, workflows, user interfaces, and more.
  • Process automation: This streamlines workflow processes and eliminates mundane tasks.
  • Data modeler: This enables citizen developers to manage data models without coding.
  • AI bots: This enables AI-powered insights on data trends and powerful analytics capabilities.
  • Application or Component Exchange: This helps users share resources and gain access to prebuilt programs, modules, and services quickly and easily.

By considering these features when selecting a Low-Code/No-Code platform, businesses can create high-quality applications more efficiently, speed up their digital transformation journey, foster innovation in their processes, increase productivity, and decrease development costs.


Citizen development allows non-technical employees to create applications using Low-Code/No-Code platforms, bringing benefits such as faster time-to-market and increased productivity. However, providing the right tools, training, and governance policies is crucial for success. Organizations should consider ease of use, integration, security, and scalability when selecting tools for citizen development. Citizen development done correctly will foster innovation and improve collaboration between IT and business teams.

For more information on how Octo can help implement end-to-end Citizen Development, best practices, and modern approaches to your federal agency, contact a member of Octo’s Low-Code/No-Code team by visiting our website.