The key to low-code success
From a marketing perspective, it can almost seem like low-code is a silver bullet for all application development problems. Faster, easier, more sustainable, less risky, enabling new talent, you name it! However, one of the most crucial elements in order to successfully integrate low-code as a part of your IT strategy is to get started with cross functional teams!
Traditionally, software development has been treated as an ordinary engineering practice where architects, designers and end-users would first predefine their intents in a well-crafted blueprint with design and requirements specification of the “solution” to a challenge. Then, the engineers would break that blueprint into a delivery plan and scope out a project. A few years down the line, the project would be delivered with little or no communication with the end-users in between.
This approach is well suited for, let’s say, building a bridge – where you need to address all potential risks and construction issues up front. This design and planning is important, as the end result is bound to the context of immutable laws of nature. The bridge is hopefully built on solid ground, not expected to change dramatically throughout the lifespan of the final construction. However, for software the lifecycle and nature of risks are quite different. Software is “built” on a continuously changing business environment – where it is impossible to predict future circumstances. Unlike the world of traditional engineering, there are few immutable laws to violate!
As software is considered more and more an integrated part of the business, the traditional engineering practices are thus becoming outdated for software development. An application ordered 18 months ago is most likely not matching business requirements if it is delivered today. Agile, rapid implementation and continuous evolution of software applications is crucial to align the software with the organization and end-users.
The key to low-code success thus lies in the evolutionary collaboration between business and IT. Low-code allows for a common language between business and IT, as well as rapid and joint implementation of new functionality. While organizations often aspire to better align their business with IT teams, low-code platforms are built to support exactly this type of alignment continuously. With visual modelling of the business applications, the business side does not only understand how the applications are put together – but they can often also participate in the actual development and evolution of their applications.
The cross-functional teams who develop low-code applications should be put together based on the nature of the application. Sometimes, a development project requires more business people and subject matter experts. Other times, the project is of a more technical nature and should be heavier on the IT side. Regardless of the specific configuration, the key to low-code success is to get these teams set up early on to allow for rapid iterations and deliveries that can be tested and improved, ultimately getting the application you need. This will not only ensure applications that respond better to shifting business requirements, but it also reduces the risks of errors and misinterpretations along the way.
Cross functional teams allow you to get end-users on board early in the development process, continuously respond to their feedback, and keep evolving the applications as the business changes. This is the heart of low-code, and the key to long-term success with your low-code applications.