27 August 2018

To code or not to code ?

Blog Musings

That is the Question or is it that simple?

As more and more aspects of business, Government, become dependent on automation for viability, the market has turned to reconsider User/Citizen development, associated with “low code” or “no code” products and platforms.

Skill shortages make those products into a kind of Holy Grail – software that is richly functional but requires only that the solution designer understands the – vast -parameter-based configuration interfaces to create value for the business users.

The basic idea is a good one.  The Chinese Whispers associated with turning a business requirement into functionality by managing dialogue between developers and users have frustrated many project boards.  The sheer expense of employing hard to find technical expertise that speaks the language of business users is a significant incentive to try another way.  Positioning the new wave of low-code/no-code products as “Platforms” is proving increasingly persuasive.  What could possibly go wrong?

Well firstly there is the integration issue.  A standalone application creates work at its fringes, and that work is usually beyond the scope of low-code/no-code.

Secondly, Citizen/User development addresses the problem of technologists not understanding the business problem; what is often overlooked is that the business users don’t necessarily grasp the capabilities of the technology being deployed.  Both of these problems can be tackled at once by creating heterogeneous teams comprised of both business and technology experts.  But beware.  It is really vital to make sure that you have genuine expertise from both sides.  Just as an inexperienced contractor Business Analyst can’t be regarded as an expert on the process at hand, neither can the grey haired programmer with huge experience with J2EE be expected to lead a deployment of a software product that they aren’t familiar with.

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