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Citizen Development Insights

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Citizen development is a disruptive approach to digital transformation and organizational innovation, where teams are empowered to turn ideas into applications using no-code/low-code technology. This blog provides insights, advice and practical knowledge from thought leaders and practitioners in Citizen Development.

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Cameron McGaughy
Ron Immink
Jody Temple White
Mario Trentim
Jason Mayall
Ryan Whitmore
Justin Sears
Chandrasekaran Audivaragan
Jelili Odunayo Kazeem
Kimberly Whitby
Vivek Goel
Derya Sousa
Raveesh Dewan
Dalibor Ninkovic
Ian Gosling
Tara Leparulo

Past Contributors:

Elizabeth Jordan
Arjun Jamnadass
Rogerio Sandim
Martin Kalliomaki
Richard Earley
Maelisa Woulfe
Octavio Arranz

Recent Posts

5 Top Citizen Development Myths Busted

Empowering Citizen Developers: Overcoming 5 Common Challenges Together

Citizen Development: The Path to Success Starts Small

Can No-Code/Low-Code ERP Replace Traditional ERP Platforms?

No Code, Big Bucks: How Citizen Developers Can Capitalize on the Future of Tech 

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Viewing Posts by Ian Gosling

Progress not Perfection: The Importance of simple steps in Digital Transformation

I spoke to a law firm's technology leader a few weeks ago about how she planned to further develop their digital transformation plans.

One of their practices is family law, and we talked about their work so far to help clients plan their inheritance.  Here is what they had done as a first step.  They had sent the clients an online form to fill in and had the questions and answers automatically put into a PDF document and emailed to the lawyer the client was going to meet.  This simple step is a stroke of brilliance.

This is not the most technologically challenging thing in the world to do.  Nor is it perfect.  But it is an awful lot better than what was happening before.  

Before the firm implemented the online form, the first meeting would be the client telling their lawyer many essential details.  Did they have children?  Did they own a property or many properties?  The lawyer would be scribbling notes or frantically typing fields into the matter management system.  Time would fly by, and the meat of the discussion would be limited.  Now the lawyer showed up with all the details in hand, and that vital first face-to-face engagement with the client was more advice-driven, more productive and gave a better impression of the firm.

The point here is that it is best to start simple and expand step by step. In the 'hyperagile' world of no-code, where you can make a change in minutes and release a new version in seconds, you don't need to get to perfect before release, just to better.  ('Hyperagile' - good, isn't it?  It's your new favourite awful buzzword.)

Delivering better often and not perfect at some unknown point in the future has some critical advantages.

First, you deliver value to your end users faster.  In this case, the frontline lawyer and client got a precious improvement in performance from something straightforward.  And that means they are now more open to other changes that the digital transformation programme may bring.

The second benefit is much less obvious.  

If you are going to shoot for perfection, you have to know what perfection looks like.  But the chances are you have no idea.  People with different points of view will have different visions of the ideal.  And, of course, what is perfect now may not be in a few months.   

If you are delivering progress, you don't have to have that model of perfection.  You can change and evolve as you go along.  It is better to deliver the next step and get actual usage data and feedback that guides you to the next stage than to strive for some abstract ideal.

It is something that the software industry has learned painfully over the years, and it is a lesson that anyone leading digital transformation should remember.

Posted by Ian Gosling on: September 28, 2022 09:55 AM | Permalink | Comments (6)

How the Rise of the Citizen Developer Enables the Scaling of Automation Across the Legal Sector

As defined by Gartner, a citizen developer is a persona for an employee who creates application capabilities to be used by themselves or others – for example, forms, automations, connections to other systems.  The increase in citizen development is part of the trend towards the democratisation of IT – people who don’t sit in the IT department being able to access sophisticated technical capabilities without technical or development training. These people are working within individual business units and are using no-code tools to rapidly develop applications. They simply don’t need advanced technical training. They need an analytical mindset and an understanding of their subject matter, but they don’t need to be developers. And they are on the rise – with an ever-increasing younger, more tech-savvy workforce wanting to develop their own applications. Gartner further showed in 2021 that 41% of organisations already used a platform for citizen development, while another 27% expected to use one within the next 12 months.

What are the implications of this for legal? Who are the new citizen developers in law? We’ve heard from a number of them in this white paper. In a GC’s office, they are the legal ops specialists who sit in the legal innovations department and their role is, with input from the legal experts, to assess the challenges the department faces and begin to develop these applications. In law firms, it’s not the front-line lawyers developing these applications (although as we’ve shown in this paper, they will have a massive contribution to make) but rather the Legal Tech teams. 

We are witnessing the rise of multi-functional teams to develop solutions. Lawyers or people with legal expertise plus IT departments who arrange and secure the correct platforms for delivery, join with citizen developers or legal technologists. The latter of these, take the expertise of their lawyers, assess the solution that needs creating and then are developing them on no-code platforms. And no-code is a massive growth area – Gartner predicted a 23 percent expansion within business Worldwide during 2021.  

The implication for cost reduction by moving this functionality out of pure IT development and into legal is massive. Automation is now in the hands of the citizen developer making it possible to automate areas that previously could not as the gains in time simply did not justify the investment.

Posted by Ian Gosling on: September 20, 2022 05:42 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
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