8 Steps to Ensure Proper Citizen Developer Governance

We’re seeing an increase in citizen development. Here’s why.  

As demands on IT departments increase, teams are relying more and more on citizen developers: team members that aren’t formally trained developers but contribute to building apps, sites, or other digital products.  

The IT department plays a guiding role, recommending tools and supporting decision-making, but the labor is dispersed to lighten the load and allow the core IT team to focus on more technically nuanced parts of the projects. As these citizen developers step up to support development initiatives, it's vital to create a framework to govern their operations so you can manage quality control and make sure that they are supported with their tasks.  


Why is governing citizen development important? 

You need to avoid citizen developers acting as a form of Shadow IT. The benefits of having citizen developers in your organization is to lighten the load for IT and speed up development times. But if they are left to their own devices, it could cause more problems.

For example, if they don't properly communicate with IT and management, they might start creating an app to fix a business problem when IT, or another citizen developer, is already creating a similar app. This wastes time and resources and creates yet more apps to manage.

This disconnect can also lead to apps that don’t fully meet business requirements and result in IT having to do a lot of work to fix them or start from scratch to create something more suitable. Citizen developers may also not be fully aware of security protocols. This could potentially open applications and the organization up to attacks.  


What can improved citizen developer governance do for your company?  

A co-productive approach between citizen developers and IT bridges the 'we'll call you' divide that often occurs between business teams and their IT counterparts. Citizen developer governance ensures that those who have been enlisted to build technical solutions like applications are able to do so while creating a consistent user experience with best-practice functionality and security.

By putting the business team in the co-pilot seat to developers, you can harness their direct experience with clients and business needs and create solutions that streamline your company at large.    


How to create a citizen developer framework in your organization 

1. Define a strategy and establish guidelines

First things first, you need to clearly define where citizen developers would best be able to assist. This will focus their efforts and set the right expectations. 

2. Create fusion teams & define roles

By bringing business and IT together in fusion teams, your company can speed up delivery processes to increase the rate at which you see value. The shared accountability of business and technology outcomes between the two divisions can result in increased commitment to product success.  

3. Establish user profiles based on experience 

Empower people with different levels of technical skills by letting them work on a platform that is customized to their proficiency. In a fusion team, IT developers are going to use different tools to the business experts: low-code solutions are more appropriate for business expert profiles, as they may not have the technical coding knowledge that developers have. Custom user profiles let each team member work to their skill level and produce a product that is useful on all sides. 

4. Train citizen developers on-platform  

Your business experts may not start out code-savvy, but with on-platform options for upskilling, they can develop their skills as they go. This way, they can realize their idea without your needing to invest in third-party instructional platforms.  

5. Offer ongoing training and support

A key part of the citizen development program is skill enhancement. So you should ensure that they have access to the resources, tools and support they need to build applications successfully. Some organizations even choose to set up mentorship programs to guide their citizen developers. 

6. Maintain transparency with IT and integrate with IT governance 

Align your citizen developer program with any existing IT governance in place to ensure there are no conflicts. Keeping channels of communication open between business and IT will help the fusion team to function properly and accelerate delivery timelines. Not to mention, make for a happier work environment! 

6. Check apps for functionality and security requirements before deployment 

As the team develops their digital products, it's vital to check each one meets functionality and security standards. Version control and testing procedures should be properly followed before launching the application to avoid any errors.

7. Monitor and review applications 

Testing is important, but you'll only truly know how well your end products are functioning once they are with the end-user. Continual testing and updates are important to ensure continued functionality and security. 

8. Encourage feedback and continuous improvement 

As well as getting feedback on the applications themselves, you should get feedback from those involved in your citizen development program. You can address any pain points and challenges that arise to help keep the program running smoothly and reinforce good practices. 


What to expect from a well-governed citizen developer program  

Gartner estimates that by 2024, 40% of internal technology products will be built by those who are not full-time technical professionals. When your citizen developer governance process runs smoothly, you’ll see the benefits of an intuitive program that capitalizes on the ideas business experts can bring to the table.  


Bizagi Apps is the easiest way to create robust enterprise applications with built-in governance. See how you can combine the strengths of both sides of your team and ensure the products your citizen developers deliver are top-notch with Bizagi’s Low-Code Solution