Citizen development is on the rise. Already, a number of tech giants have adopted a citizen development company business model, while predictions state that by 2024, approximately 75 percent of enterprises will have at least at least four low/no-code platforms in place for citizen development.

Citizen development provides a structure for business technologists in your company to solve process problems on their own. Without relying on IT departments or bottleneck steps to update software or new applications, citizen developers can take action and code themselves. 

True citizen development nurtures greater participation with individuals and IT teams, and makes workflows more streamlined, and business outcomes more cost-efficient. In some cases, citizen development can also make technical processes more secure, as there’s less time for vulnerabilities to be taken advantage of.

It’s no surprise then that citizen development company business models are becoming the norm. But how do you get started? Here’s the rundown.

Citizen Developer Business Model for Startups: What Are the Benefits?

Citizen developers aren’t siloed into a niche skill set, which means they can more broadly communicate with teams, make faster decisions, and find solutions for a more diverse range of issues.

From an expense perspective, citizen developers also cost less money to train than hiring a new employee; and, low code/no code platforms could facilitate reducing existing tech stack costs. Additionally, by speeding up the time it takes to fix problems, directly notifying people to make code changes, and placing more stakeholders on the same page, businesses can lower operational costs.

In fact, communication is a big advantage of citizen development. With low code/no code platforms, individuals can be alerted about tasks or orders, rather than sifting through inboxes or waiting for team members to respond to Slack messages. Likewise, all reporting is centralized to the same place – dashboards display all data points and can more effectively highlight patterns and anomalies for teams to act upon.

What to Prepare Before Implementing a Citizen Developer Business Model

Before diving into the citizen development pool, you need to be aware of some of the most common pitfalls, as well as the best practices, to successfully implement the model.

To start, you need to have a key champion or stakeholder to integrate a citizen development program. Not doing so will mean no one is accountable for checking that the necessary resources are available, nor measuring the impact of the program. The likelihood of the model having a good return on investment for your business will therefore be low.

At the same time, you have to provide employees with the time to learn and adopt a new citizen developer skill set, plus get accustomed to low code/no code platforms. This time should be part of their standard work day – it should not be seen as an additional task that they do outside of standard hours.

Likewise, you need to consistently encourage out-of-the-box thinking and problem-solving. Citizen development isn’t a fixed course, it’s about empowering people to experiment, and to convert innovative ideas into tangible products and functionalities. What does that look like? Being patient, providing spaces for people to share suggestions (no matter how extreme they may seem at first), and pursuing new strategies.

Curating a citizen development team takes time. It demands a clear leader, but also being open to collaboration and thinking beyond the processes that are already in your organization. People should feel supported and curious to participate in citizen development and be able to see the value they receive from the model – including developing new skills and evolving their role at the company.

What Resources Help Build a Citizen Developer Business Model?

The Project Management Institute (PMI) framework can guide you on your journey toward a citizen development business model, but you’ll have to decide how best to organize around it depending on your business needs.

Some companies choose to focus their citizen development efforts on business analysts in IT, whereas others are more comfortable selecting one person from each department. In some circumstances, companies will opt to launch a center of excellence for citizen development, with the aim of giving every employee the opportunity to be a citizen developer.

What is certain though, is that no code/low code platforms will fuel your citizen development business model. By replacing complex, line-by-line coding with drag-and-drop, fully visual software platforms, you can establish a citizen development business model at scale, while maintaining (if not, improving) quality.

Does a Citizen Developer Business Model Always Make Sense?

There are undoubtedly perks to adopting a citizen developer business model, however, the model may not be suitable for all companies and organizations. A citizen developer program requires designing a curriculum and designating people to moderate it. If you have a small team, you may not have the flexibility to dedicate time to these tasks. Similarly, if your teams’ workload is particularly high, they may not have the bandwidth to familiarize themselves with low code/no code platforms during work days.

Citizen development should be a priority if you choose to commit to it as a business model. If you can’t give the program full attention and resources, it’s best to wait until you’re in a more agile, dedicated position to do so.
Feel ready to begin crafting your citizen development business model? Request a free TrackVia demo.

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