On May 25, 2023 our Pega Citizen Development virtual event was a 'show and tell,' showcasing the work of Pega citizen developers involved in Pega's own internal citizen development program, which we refer to as our App Factory (adopting the name of the Marketplace application that we use to manage the program). After a tour of Pega's citizen development program from Jim McSweeney, Andreas Neul shared his passion for Pega Questionnaire, and Zach Karpinsky shared an application that he built to manage the prioritization of bug fixes as part of our release management process. In addition to these real life examples of citizen developed apps (which we hope will serve as an inspiration to others), we learned that:
- The best way to become a citizen developer is to start building
- Active collaboration with a center of excellence for governance, coaching, and alignment is key
- You never know what the future of an application may hold. By building on Pega you can be assured that an application built by a citizen developer can easily graduate to IT-ownership as it increases in complexity and criticality over time
Citizen Development at Pega
The citizen development program at Pega began in 2015 with a single application created by our marketing department. Since that time, many applications have been built, deployed, graduated, and retired, Today we have 25 active applications in our internal App Factory, with an additional 10 applications in active development.
When our citizen development program began in 2015, most of the intake, onboarding, and governance process was manual. In 2019, we built Pega App Factory (now available on Pega Marketplace) in order to automate these previously manual tasks and ensure that citizen developers have the highest chance of success. It does this by bringing together the two groups that are most important in this process: citizen developers (working either alone, in a squad, or as a member of a fusion team) and the Center of Excellence responsible for governance and coaching. A collaborative relationship between business and IT is essential to the success of programs like this, and Pega App Factory is designed to facilitate exactly that. During our webinar, Jim McSweeney describes our program in detail, and provides a demonstration of how we use Pega App Factory to manage all aspects of our internal program
Building apps using Pega Questionnaire
Andreas Neul is a Client Success Manager at Pega who works with large Pega clients in EMEA who are, themselves, leading the way in their innovative approaches to governed citizen development. In order to better relate to the experiences of Pega clients, Andreas decided to become a citizen developer himself. Given that client satisfaction is a primary concern of his, Andreas built a simple application using Pega Questionnaire to measure exactly that. Building the questionnaire application was fairly simple, especially with coaching from Jim McSweeney and access to helpful documentation. Andreas mentions that new how-to videos and Pega's new AI-powered Self-study Buddy make citizen development efforts even easier now than they were when he originally built the application using Pega 8.6.
Augmenting the release management process in Pega App Studio
Can someone be in IT and also be a citizen developer? Absolutely!
At Pega there are times when a developer wants to introduce a bug fix into a Pega Platform release already in development. Because this represents an exception to our standard process, handling this situation would typically involve sharing spreadsheets back and forth via email and chasing down approvals in order to have that new feature accepted or rejected for an upcoming release. To standardize and speed up this process, Zach Karpinski (Senior DevSecOps Engineer at Pega) requested an environment via Pega App Factory and built a workflow application in Pega App Studio. He has continually iterated the application in response to user feedback. The application was originally built outside of Pega Agile Studio (which we use internally for release management), but given the importance of this application we have plans graduate the app by pulling it into our Agile Studio environment itself. Based on the success of this project, our engineering organization plans to increasingly leverage our App Factory program to prototype, deploy, test, and graduate even more applications in future.