Did you know that nearly 70% of developers have taught themselves how to code? In the digital world, more non-professional developers are seizing tools and resources that help them master programming languages and software building. And it makes sense, considering the increasing demand for software and the worldwide shortage of professional developers to build them.
Within your company, though, it may not be immediately clear who these people are and how to foster this type of end-user development amongst your broader employee base. However, ultimately, the goal is to empower department managers and front-line employees to build or configure software solutions themselves. With the right knowledge and materials, you can effectively implement an end-user development strategy that helps foster internal innovation, as well as removes internal bottlenecks between departments and IT. Below, our experts break down how.
What Are End User Developers?
In the context of companies, end users are the internal employees that are technically inclined with a desire to drive their company’s growth. They are the group that IT or internal developers work with during the development process and collect feedback from in order to create products that make the company’s processes run more smoothly.
End-user developers aren’t necessarily even employees. Rather, any person using the end product that could provide feedback to further develop a product. However, when looking at things through an internal business lens, end-user developers are the employees who take initiative to create the killer spreadsheets or databases their co-workers rely on to do their day-to-day jobs. While they may not have formal coding training, they know how to code or develop new applications within the product they use. End-user developers are similar to “citizen developers” but citizen development always implies internal team members with an intimate knowledge of the product, software, and the processes that made them. Compared to end-user development citizen development is:
- Provides a framework around things like training, governance, and scale.
End-user development is like being invited to a pot-luck dinner at your friend IT’s house. The friend is ultimately hosting you, but you contribute with your own preferred dish that everyone can enjoy too.
What Are the Advantages of End User Development?
End-user development comes with a host of advantages. The first is business velocity because amid a tech talent crisis and surging demand for digital products, end-user developers allow organizations to expand their technical teams and capabilities. As a result, they can overcome problems faster.
Beyond speed, software quality is also improved. Rather than using generic software practices, or having to explain to in-house developers what you need, when you need it, and how (e.g. user stories and project briefs), end users can work according to their own expectations. They can equally make changes and updates whenever they see fit, so as processes and needs evolve, software adjustments take place in real-time.
Not to mention, end-user development amongst employees is more cost-effective for businesses. Most end-user-developed solutions are built using no-code/low-code platforms, which enable employees to configure, build, and replicate software at a fraction of the cost of other environments. Instead of buying software for CRM, customer support, HR, and inventory, companies can consolidate a single, low-code solution and build as many unique end user development applications as they need. And with TrackVia, for example, companies only pay more as they add more users, so business growth and expenses are better aligned.
What Projects Do End User Developers Work On?
End-user developers are very versatile—their skillset varies depending on what they’re interested in and what products they feel familiar with. For businesses, the more diverse their end-user developers are, the better.
Because end-user developers generally operate in no/low-code platforms, they can deploy changes faster. No/low-code environments deploy updates between a few days to several weeks, whereas traditional software development can take anywhere between a few months to years. This makes end developers great for high-priority projects.
Likewise, end developers can make any alterations to processes anywhere in the drag-and-drop, no/low-code environments, unlike traditional code spaces where teams have to wait for a dedicated engineer to act. Plus, end-user developers tend to understand the application inside out, so they can make edits with greater confidence. They’re subsequently best suited to projects that need to improve end-user satisfaction or engagement.
How Can Companies Train End User Developers?
Many software vendors offer free or paid training for end users dipping their toes into development. Organizations like Project Management Institute (PMI) also have general training on citizen development that can help make the most of the low-code or no-code platform that you’re using. That said, one of the biggest perks of low/no-code platforms is that they’re intuitive and immediately easy to use; if end users know their way around a spreadsheet, they’ll likely understand how to navigate these platforms.
If companies aren’t sure whether end-user development is right for a project, start small and scale fast. For example, identify a process or project that can’t be managed with generic software or other typical tools. Use that project to then test end-user development with a low/no-code platform. If you see traction here, that’s a sign that end-user development can be applied elsewhere and produce comparable results.
End-user development is already gaining popularity in development due to its ROI and ability to practically act on audiences’ needs. If you’re ready to step into end-user development for your project or business, book a demo with TrackVia, and uncover the low/no-code world for your budding developers.