Strategic Framework for Creating Proper Citizen Developer Governance


Between The Great Resignation, developer shortage, and an ever-growing backlog of tickets from internal teams, IT leaders are being forced with an ultimatum:

  1. Overwork your teams, risking burnout and high turnover 
  2. Find creative ways to offboard less technical tasks to non-IT team members 

That’s why it’s no surprise that 60% of organizations are planning to invest in low-code no-code tools (LCNC) that will be implemented and managed under a citizen development program. 

But with citizen development comes an increased risk of shadow IT and decreased application quality– that is, if it isn’t managed correctly. That’s why implementing a citizen developer governance framework is critical. 

Below, we’re explaining why citizen development governance matters and providing the ultimate strategic framework to ensure your teams mitigate risks while easing up developer pressures. 

Why Citizen Development Governance Matters

Citizen development governance provides non-IT team members with guidance for building applications with low-code no-code platforms. When operating under a framework, 84% of companies are able to reduce IT burden, increase development time and enhance business collaboration through these tools. 

But without a governance standard in place, you leave your non-technical staff to build applications blindly. This can result in a nightmarish situation— the use of unapproved tools, security issues, costly expenses to correct the issues and ultimately, adding more problems for your developers in the long run.  

While minimal IT oversight is required to ensure your citizen development program is a success, the implementation of a citizen development governance framework will create:

  • Streamlined citizen developer onboarding 
  • Reduced shadow IT
  • Freedom for citizen developers to build applications securely 
  • Reduced backlog for development teams 
  • Enhanced skills for non-IT team members 

Framework for Citizen Developer Governance

The benefits of citizen development governance are undeniable. And you may be eager to get started. But where do you begin? Below, we’re providing you with a five-step framework to catapult your program into action.

1. Centralize citizen developer policies

Like any successful system, there should be clear rules to follow and key people held accountable for enforcing those rules. In many cases, your citizen developer program will be managed by a branch within IT. This team will be responsible for:

  • Developing citizen developer policies
  • Monitoring and managing all citizen developer activity 
  • Providing resources and training 
  • Ensuring business users follow company-wide and by-department regulations
  • Approves, catalogs and oversees relevant data services and API integrations 

The citizen developer policies are just the guidelines and resources required to reinforce the agreement between IT and citizen developers. A few things you may want to include within these policies:

  • Defining which business users qualify as citizen developers within your organizations 
  • Which IT teams citizen developers will be operating within
  • How and which types of apps will be developed by citizen developers
  • Who citizen developers can contact should they have technical issues
  • The system for escalating non-technical issues and requests to IT if and when required 

2. Encourage collaboration across teams

Effective governance can’t be achieved when business users and IT are siloed. It’s critical that these teams collaborate frequently to ensure policies are being upheld– especially in terms of:

  • Coordination support: Regular check-ins with IT will help ensure that your business users build applications that align with business goals. It will also mitigate shadow IT and avoid the creation of duplicate or unnecessary applications.
  • Community building support: A great way for IT to help peer collaboration is by implementing tools that allow easy communication. For example, a citizen-developer-only slack channel is a great place for IT and business users to collaborate and bounce ideas off one another.
  • Tech support: Being non-technical, it’s likely that business users will run into hurdles or require some level of coding support along the way. Setting up a ticketing system is a great way to provide ongoing support for citizen developers while remaining respectful of your development team’s time. 

3. Set up training

IT staff understands that building applications are so much more than just entering in some coding. It requires an understanding of data security, policy, how to properly format data to integrate systems, and of course, the capabilities of the tools they’re using. 

This is the same kind of knowledge that needs to be transferred to business users as they begin using low-code no-code tools. That’s where having a robust training program is critical. Training should be broken down into two steps:

→ Step 1: Initial training 

This is the preliminary training that covers your policies, basic concepts and expectations. This training should include:

    • Education and access to low-code no-code resources 
    • Overviews of relevant data lists and connected business systems 
    • Detailed security and compliance training with supplementary information security certifications
    • Introduction and training on required sandbox environments to ensure business users test any and all app deployments before launching in production 
    • Support procedures and complete access to any and all resources required for ongoing assistance 
    • Testing to ensure the fundamentals are understood before development can begin 

→ Step 2: Ongoing training

It’s predicted that by 2024, 80% of technology products and services will be built by professionals outside of IT. It’s clear that citizen development will only become more important within your business, and your team will need to learn a variety of tools and skill sets along the way. That’s why ongoing training will be critical to the longevity of your program. 

Ongoing training will also provide growth opportunities for business users and eventually, take even more work off IT’s shoulders as they get better and faster at building applications that provide value to the organization. 

4. Oversee integrations

Majority of workers have admitted to using SaaS applications without IT approval. Unfortunately, shadow IT is a common issue with serious consequences. It opens the door to risks like security issues, regulatory non-compliance fines, data inaccuracies, leaks and more. 

That’s why IT needs to have an approval process for not only LCNC tools business users require, but also for the third parties they may want to integrate with those tools. IT should be involved in all integrations from approval and implementation to post-integration auditing to ensure all data was transferred properly. Without this, they inevitably will have to clean up any messes caused by mismanaged integrations.

5. Track productivity and performance

You know all too well that technology isn’t stagnant. As consumer demand increases and the competitive landscape grows, new low-code no-code tools will be required to pioneer business initiatives forward. 

In addition to technological changes, people changes will occur, business processes will be re-engineered and your citizen development framework will need to be modified along the way. You will want to be able to answer questions such as:

  • Does our citizen development program have effective resources?
  • Is the organization benefiting from citizen development?
  • Are our citizen developers receiving sufficient training?
  • Is our program promoting cross-departmental collaboration?
  • Are we reducing shadow IT risk? And how?

Running regular audits and monitoring performance around training, collaboration and performance are key to answering these questions and ensuring your citizen development strategy remains effective under such changes. 

To help get a holistic view of your citizen development program’s performance, KPIs can be broken down into four main categories: 

  1. Implementations 
  2. Organizational maturity
  3. Development delivery
  4. Pipeline
KPIs for Citizen Development
  • Number of apps in development
  • Number of live apps
  • Number of platform logins by citizen developer
  • Number of integrations with other apps
Organizational Maturity
  • Number of active citizen developers
  • Number of users of citizen-development-built apps
  • Number of business processes that use citizen developers
  • Number of comments per application
  • Ratings of citizen developers
  • Average time to market of apps
  • Average time to ideation
  • Average time to build/deploy
  • Average time to value delivery
  • Average time to change applications
  • Average time to repair defects
  • Number of projects going down fast track vs assisted paths
  • Number of projects returning to fast track after detailed assessment
  • Numbers of requests to IT
  • Number of escalations
  • Number of ideas being developed
  • Number of shadow IT tools qualified for citizen development
  • Number of shadow IT tools made redundant
  • Number of ideas discarded
  • Number of ideas in backlog
  • Number of departments originating citizen developer ideas

Fuel Citizen Developer Governance Success with Empowering SaaS Technology

Your citizen developer governance framework is the foundation of a successful citizen development program. Without it, your organization may suffer the long-term consequences caused by shadow IT and burnt-out development staff. 

As you explore more resources for building out a successful citizen development program and the low-code no-code tools you may want to implement, check out our Coding Beyond Tradition eBook. Inside, you'll get everything you need to know about how citizen developers and low-code no-code is changing the future of telecom.

A great place to begin implementing LCNC tools is within your communications tech stack. The AVOXI platform allows you to seamlessly connect high-quality voice and customer experience solutions in one, easy-to-use no-code platform. 

Coding Beyond Tradition

Low-code no-code is the future of business communications.
Read our guide to learn how to leverage citizen developers
to lower barriers and accelerate IT objectives.