In today’s day and age, businesses are constantly trying to cut down the turnaround time on their demands. For this very reason, the low-code/no-code (LCNC) phenomena has shown immense promise since its first introduction to the market place.
An LCNC platform is a cloud based visual integrated development environment that allows citizen developers to create software solutions quickly using a set of pre-built components rather than employing a team of software developers.
These platforms free the app's creator from having to know anything about traditional programming languages or the development work that has gone into building the platform's configurable components. LCNC platforms have grown exponentially since their inception due to the decreased number of skilled software developers available and the increased turn-around time required for development projects.
To boil it down to the basics, the no-code crowd consists of business users who can build functional, but generally limited apps, without having to write a line of code. Whereas low-coders are more professional developers who deliver enterprise-class applications with little or no hand-coding.
Whichever way you slice it, reducing the time, manpower and budget spent on an app and ending up with a faster, higher quality, more flexible one seems like a no brainer.
However, there are a number of lessons learned that businesses pursuing this route should be taking note of.
We have learned that LCNC platforms are not fire and forget – close monitoring is required.
The whole idea is to produce results quickly. Normal Agile and CM approaches are too time-consuming and costly. By the time you get through these legacy practices, the solution could already be built. Streamline your processes and focus on sprints.
2. Inject mission/business focused experts early to supplement the technical SMEs
Since the cycles are short, your integration contractor does not have much time to ramp-up and learn your business. Always make sure resources are set aside up front to help transfer knowledge.
One of the benefits of LCNC platforms is the ability to produce results in days and weeks. Make sure you schedule stakeholder result reviews consistently with the quick implementation cycles.
Assuming the solution consists of multiple modules, rapid functionality testing needs to occur quickly in conjunction with the sprints. Standard Agile testing milestones may not apply. Make sure your schedule includes quick cycle testing for functionality and other components.
Like any other software solution, LCNC platforms have limitations as to what can be provided through configuration. If aspects of the solution require “development” or coding, it is important for you to perform some rapid alternative analysis to determine if the platform is the right source for custom development.
To avoid version lock-in, it is also important to understand the implications for future operations, maintenance and updates to the base platform.
Specifically in a labor hour environment (since the cycles are short), it is important to monitor spending and projections on a biweekly basis – sometimes more frequently than that.
Many of these observations refer back to software program management 101. Your key focus should be to optimize your program management office and best practices for very short solution cycles.