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5 ways to empower your developers with low-code/no-code

Jayne Groll CEO, DevOps Institute

Low-code/no-code development platforms allow enterprise developers and citizen developers to create web or mobile apps without writing code line by line. With the ability to drag and drop application components and connect them, anyone in the organization can create an application suited to their needs.

As CIOs work to build their technology stacks, it's not surprising that many are embracing low-code/no-code platforms to maximize output within their organizations. Gartner estimates that by 2024, low-code will account for more than 65% of application development activity.

With digital transformation top of mind, the benefits of low-code/no-code often lie in the fact that you can empower citizen developers who have little to no development skills. But can experienced developers benefit from low-code/no-code as well?

To get some high-level insights, I asked several DevOps Institute ambassadors for their opinions. Here's what they had to say.

1. Maximize workflows and eliminate waste

One of the benefits of low-code/no-code is that it allows your developers to accelerate deployment and reduce IT backlogs. With low-code specifically, you can use code that is less tailored to actions, creating a stronger impact.

With many coding languages, you can start to incorporate low-code by adding in option lines and libraries as you move forward. This also allows you to align resources and developers with products and services to promote flow and eliminate waste.

As Mark Peters, technical lead at analytics provider Novetta, said, "Our agile philosophy says to maximize the amount of work not done, and low-code instances help move us" there.

Low-code may also be seen as query languages within extended databases, Peters said. While not perfect, many of the widgets in the Atlassian base for Jira and Confluence, for example, let you use query language as "small code" within the broader structure of the workflow.

Even GitLab and GitHub are using a low-code/no-code approach for developers, Peters added. "Portions of the system are done through the interface without requiring command-line interaction, and work even further to help write better code (scaling) through interaction with a no-code interface."

2. Seek developer input on the application stack

When building your low-code/no-code application stack, consider gathering feedback from developers. By taking input on the application stack for the entire organization, you can better understand how to implement low-code/no-code practices and processes.

Vishnu Vasudevan, head of product engineering and development at DevOps tool provider Opsera, agrees. By bringing teams together from different business units to establish training, governance, tech stacks, and so on, "you can support and unify teams across the board."

You can help all of these teams even further by providing a platform to orchestrate low-code and high-code implementations "through one single view that gives flexibility to the core engineering teams to modify, update, or make changes and tweaks, and then do the work," he said.

3. Embrace collaboration

With low-code/no-code tools, nontechnical employees can create the applications they want quickly and seamlessly without having to wait for the IT department to respond to their requests. But it's important to keep in mind that these tools require governance and security measures to ensure that a problem is not accidentally created.

Shriniwas Sathe, DevOps chief architect and center of excellence leader at Capgemini, said the IT department will still be at the helm of development throughout the organization. "However, they can get support and new ideas for solutions from the employees in other departments, leading to a collaborative approach where best practices are followed while allowing for creative freedom in development."

4. Give your developers the tools they need 

Another important aspect of low-code/no-code is ensuring that your developers have access to the tools and resources they need to succeed. With citizen developers and developers collaborating, it's important that developers have the ability to build their own work solutions.

Rapid prototyping and ease of cross-organizational collaboration can allow your teams to scale with ease and to maximize outputs. Peter Maddison, founder of DevOps services provider Xodiac, said, “Giving your team the power to build their work solutions is a great way of ensuring that they have unlimited learning potential, advancement, and growth."

The low-code/no-code movement provides versatility and openness, he said. "If you're looking for rapid app development, then this approach will be perfect as it facilitates task assignment across all levels of coding experience without increasing frustration or slowing down progress."

4. Amplify successes

Last but not least, you can empower your team to embrace low-code/no-code by showing it off as a pivotal tool to success. When you share the successes of the tools you utilize, you get others on board with the possibilities that low-code/no-code can bring to the enterprise.

As Brendan O'Reilly, DevOps specialist at consultancy Daysha DevOps, said, "Build an application using these tools and disseminate information about its success."

Transform your company

If you’re thinking about using low-code/no-code development platforms in your organization, first gather feedback and input from developers. While low-code/no-code enables citizen developers, your enterprise development team will always be instrumental to success in your technology landscape. Seek their input when building your technology stack and allow them to use the tools they want and need.

Low-code/no-code has the potential to transform your organization, reduce toil, and maximize outputs. Encourage everyone across the enterprise to work together and celebrate each success as it comes.

If you'd like to learn more about the latest in low-code/no-code and similar topics, see the DevOps Institute's upcoming SKILup Day schedule. Or check out The DevOps Journey SKILbook to discover how DevOps helps organizations.

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