Establish a practice committee
Determining the appropriate guardrails for an organization should not be decided in a vacuum. To avoid the perils of shadow IT, we know that IT must be involved in the process. There are other parts of the organization that need a voice in the discussion as the organization guardrails are defined. The organizational representatives form a practice committee and work together to establish the appropriate guardrails for your App Factory. When looking for representatives from your organization to take part in the practice committee, consider the following roles to make up a governance board.
Having representation for each area of the business is not always feasible, as many disparate voices pushing for their own ends can lead to confusion and stagnation. On the practice committee, the Product Owner represents the App makers; they understand objectives of the App makers and the limitations of your App Factory. As a strategy is built out, they ensure factory processes are usable and welcoming to new and current team members.
The following tasks are examples of activities that the Product Owner performs.
- Define and prioritize the integrations that need to be made available to your App makers
- Coordinate with the business to avoid fragmenting business processes into several applications
- Work with App makers to understand the pain points of the program
Subject Matter Expert (SME)
The Subject Matter Expert understands the workflows, business rules, and outcomes required to achieve a successful outcome. The role of the SME on the practice committee is to represent your existing infrastructure and systems. It is desirable to avoid the creation of duplicate systems to accomplish the same outcome, and the SME guides App teams to use or improve existing solutions rather than create a new stand-alone solution. Keep in mind that you might have several SMEs on the practice committee to create holistic understand of your organization's systems and assets.
The following tasks are examples of activities that the SME performs.
- Implement and document reusable integrations with other systems
- Represent the IT teams that build and maintain corporate applications
- Architecture and design review to ensure that data security and integrity are maintained
The adoption of low-code tools allows business experts to rapidly build applications without writing code. While tooling empowers App makers to solve their business problems quickly, the application can face adoption challenges. The UI Experts on the practice committee help create consistent user experiences that drive adoption and improve application usability. By creating reusable interfaces to address common use cases and establishing design standards for the App Factory, UI experts enable App makers to create applications that users can quickly adopt. In addition to working with the App makers, UI designers assist in making the App Factory easy for users to consume and navigate.
The following tasks are some examples of activities that would be performed by the UI Experts:
- Create and maintain the UI styles utilized by each application in your App Factory
- Implement reusable UI controls for accomplish common tasks, user lookups, and product catalog searches
- Provide App makers with mock-ups and guidance on creating effective user interfaces
To create successful App makers, your App Factory must provide sustained enablement. It is essential to remember that App makers are not trained developers by trade, so quality support is critical. Coaches can provide App makers with ad hoc support, answering tickets, and building a Community of Practice of App makers. Cross-functional experts representing both the business and IT, coaches help capture feedback and guide how to solve business problems by using best practices.
As your App Factory program grows, the number of coaches might need to grow to provide business makers with the necessary support. App makers that have success in building applications in the App Factory are great candidates for new coaches as your App Factory finds success.
The following tasks are examples of activities that program coaches perform.
- Educate App makers on how to use your tooling to create successful applications
- Provide second-level product support for released applications
- Create training materials to enable App makers to more rapidly deliver digital transformation