“Citizen developer” only teams – is it even possible?

By | July 29, 2022

Power Platform and low code development are not exactly synonyms, but they are close. As in, very close.

That seems to be creating an interesting problem. We talk about citizen developers, we talk about professional developers, we talk about Fusion teams… That all makes sense, it seems, but would it be possible to have a citizen developer-only team?

It’s an open-ended question, by the way. But, to start with, here is a typical scenario we would normally be given when learning about the fusion teams:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/power-apps/guidance/fusion-dev-ebook/foreword

Looking at the scenario above, you can’t help but notice that fusion teams are great for delivery. Citizen Developers can prototype quickly using their business knowledge to guide them, professional developers can work on the integrations, and, as a result, a useful business application can be developed quickly.

Which is totally fine by me in some situations (and I’ll probably have more on this soon), but, in general, application lifecycle does not end with the successful development of the prototype. It does not even end with the successful development of a very functional app for that matter, since, once an app has been released, there is always support, maintenance, improvement requests, user training, etc.

Professional developers have come up with all the tools to facilitate this – think of the source control tools, issue tracking tools, various types of development processes, different design patterns (which, in the end, help with support and maintenance, too), etc.

And, yet, business users are not, usually, familiar with those processes, tools, and practices. After all, if they were, they’d probably be professional developers?

Which is where we seem to be running into a problem – citizen developers can prototype apps, or they can even develop those apps from start to end if there is no need to the professionally developed connectors/api-s, but who will plan out and eventually take care of the remaining pieces of the application development process?

Even in the fusion teams the role of professional developers may have to go well beyond API / connector development, so, perhaps we should shift our attention from the low code/pro code dilemma, and, instead, start looking more at all the other aspects of application development/project delivery when thinking of the roles on the teams?

Which brings me back to the original question – is it even possible to have citizen developers only teams? It is not a theoretical question, by the way, since citizen development is a concept that has definitely been recognized, it’s been heard of, and business users are starting to utilize it.

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