Citizen development and embedding

Erik Tieleman

The essence of technology is user enablement. What better way is there to provide a toolbox to this very same business user to build it’s own solutions. Citizen Development and Embedding of solutions in organisations unleash digital value to the business. Innovation is the new norm and Citizen Development scales innovation capabilities efficiently and securely within any organisation.

But as always, it is not up for grabs if Citizen Development is not orchestrated well. Providing the Citizen Developers with No Code tools without proper guidance and boundaries does not lead to consistent and valuable developments. Instead, the risk for ‘shadow IT solutions’ is close by. We have developed a methodology for organisations to adopt Citizen Development effectively. It consists of nine simple steps, taking all relevant aspects for successful innovation through Citizen Development.


The 3 steps covering the assessment of your organisation start with your team composition and definition. What we want here is the facilitation of every team members contribution with clear guidance of capacity, roles and responsibilities. Similar with Rapid Solution Development, we need to understand the rules of the game upfront which is what the Operating Model will bring. But most important, the boundaries, Citizen Development selection criteria and guidance set by your IT provide rules of engagement for each innovation idea or development.


Once the playing field is fully set, we need to provide the Citizen Developers with the right knowledge, skills and circumstance to innovate. This comes down to training for No Code software and other tooling used and the ways of working like specific software development methods like SCRUM / Agile. How do you generate and test new ideas, all activities which are not common in today’s business and tech teams. Last but certainly not least, we need to understand that innovation activities are hard and require a level of confidence of the team members. Creating a culture where transparency and failures are building blocks of your future products is not easy when business dynamics and budgets are managed organisation wide.


Team excitement will diminish fast when execution is frustrated. Let’s start with the idea that innovation should not be managed. Funding should therefore not be dependent on pre-defined budgets but should be linked to product increments, project output or business value generated. Accountability and KPIs are still essential but the perspective should be different than business as usual. Alignment of the organisation in terms of business value (to be achieved) and change management to successfully embed the new realities within the organisation are a constant activity that will be needed. And lastly, being brutally honest about your current status and maturity will help to get all circumstances exactly right to give the development team the innovation acceleration we are all after.


Citizen Development


Identify required capacity, roles & RACI

Operating Model

Define innovation and application principles & conditions

IT Governance

Secure consistency, suitability, security and data privacy


Business analysis, requirements finding & app development


Ideation 2.0 & Hyper-Agile SDLC


Define practices, values & sponsorship


Deploy accountability & KPIs

Organisation alignment

Define value tree & change management approach

Maturity Management

Citizen Development Maturity Model - Discovery, Experimentation, Adoption, Scaling & Innovating

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