Discussing the Rise of the Citizen Developer

June 2016 CollabTalk TweetJamWhile not a new concept or discussion point, the increased availability of cloud-based solutions and low-code tools and scripts has brought the "citizen developer" back into the spotlight as of late. As a Microsoft technology guy, what sparked my attention was the announcements around PowerApps and Flow, and the public preview of GigJam, which was a highlight of last year's Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference when Office GM Julia White gave a stellar demo on stage of this compelling toolset.

I never considered myself a citizen developer, but going back to the early 1990s when I was formally trained to lead joint or rapid application development (JAD/RAD) sessions to quickly develop applications and interfaces with minimal engineering support, I was participating in the movement. As articulated in a recent ZDNet article by Dion Hinchcliffe (who I was finally able to meet in person at Microsoft's Future of SharePoint event in San Francisco last month) a new wave of "grassroots apps that solve long-neglected problems in the enterprise" and that can be mastered with little to no technical experience are driving this citizen developer movement.

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On Friday, June 24th at 9am PDT we will be discussing "The Rise of the Citizen Developer" in the monthly CollabTalk tweetjam, which is always an engaging and very much social conversation around social, knowledge management, and collaboration topics. Joining me on these sessions are a wide variety of experts and community members from around the world, including many MVPs, engineers, project and product managers, and so forth.

If you’ve never participated in one of these tweetjams, it's pretty simple: anyone can jump in and share their thoughts, or just lurk in the wings and absorb the wisdom of the crowd. Either way, it’ll be a TON of content to consume in a single hour. You can follow the live session using the Twitter UI of your choice (Twitter.com, Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, Twubs, whatever). How it works is that I’ll post a series of questions every few minutes, and people will respond to Q1, Q2, Q3 and so forth with A1, A2, A3, always including the #CollabTalk hashtag with their answers. Feel free to reply as often (or as little) as you’d like, ask your own follow up questions, share relevant links, retweet others, and engage with the audience.

The questions we will discuss during the session include:

  1. How do you define "citizen developer"?
  2. Is there a divide between IT and citizen developers? If so, why?
  3. Do "low code" solutions mean anyone can be a citizen developer? Why/Why not?
  4. Does the advent of Microsoft's PowerApps, Flow, and GigJam empower the citizen developer?
  5. What responsibility does a citizen developer have toward corporate governance?
  6. In a SaaS future, does every information worker become a citizen developer?
  7. How can IT work better with CDs to expand capacity to provide the org with solutions?

Of course, there will be side-questions, side-conversations, and wise-cracking throughout. The dialog is usually thought-provoking but also fun. Participating on this panel are a number of MVPs and experts on SharePoint and Office 365. Of course, this is open to the public, so please join in the discussion!

  • Marc Anderson (@sympmarc), SharePoint MVP and co-founder, president of Sympraxis Consulting
  • Holger Mueller (@holgermu), vp and principal analyst at Constellation Research
  • Dan Holme (@danholme), director of product marketing at Microsoft
  • Randy Drisgill (@drisgill), SharePoint MVP and branding and design expert at Rackspace
  • Michelle Caldwell (@shellecaldwell), SharePoint MVP and north america digital workplace transformation lead at Avanade 
  • Richard Harbridge (@rharbridge), Office Server and Services MVP, cto of 2toLead
  • Ryan Schouten (@ShrPntKnight) senior SharePoint architect and evangelist at ZAACT
  • Gina Montgomery (@ginammontgomery), vp of corporate strategy at Softmart
  • Jeffrey Schwartz (@jeffreyschwartz), editor of Redmond Magazine and editor-at-large for Redmond Channel Partner magazine
  • Robert Toro (@SharePointToro), SharePoint practice director at Slalom 
  • Eric Riz (@rizinsights), SharePoint MVP and ceo of Empty Cubicle 
  • John White (@diverdown1964), SharePoint MVP and cto at UnlimitedViz Inc.
  • Jared Shockley (@jshoq), senior systems engineer with SESIT at Microsoft
  • David Roe (@druadh20), technology journalist and senior reporter with CMSWire
  • Jeff Willinger (@jwillie), director of collaboration and social business at Rightpoint
  • Jeff Shuey (@jshuey), founder NuNalu
  • Benjamin Niaulin (@bniaulin), Office 365 MVP and evangelist at ShareGate
  • Stacy Deere-Strole (@sldeere), owner of Focal Point Solutions
  • Naomi Moneypenny (@nmoneypenny), Office365 MVP and cto at ManyWorlds
  • Eli Robillard (@erobillard), SharePoint MVP, musician, fly-fisher, collaboration technology guy
  • Fabian Williams (@fabianwilliams), SharePoint MVP and senior consultant at Planet Technologies 
  • Barry Jinks (@BJinks), founder and ceo at Colligo
  • Jeff Fried (@jefffried), cto and vp of engineering at BA Insight
  • Tom Resing (@resing), senior content developer, modern assistance and support experience at Microsoft
  • and your host, Christian Buckley (@buckleyplanet), Office Server and Services MVP and cmo for Beezy

It should be a fantastic discussions. As always, everyone is invited to participate whether or not you’re part of the panel. Join the conversation using the #CollabTalk hashtag and share your ideas and feedback. Thanks!

Christian Buckley

Christian is a Microsoft Regional Director and Office Apps & Services MVP, and the Founder & CEO of CollabTalk LLC, an independent research and technical marketing services firm based in Lehi, Utah, through which he provides fractional-CMO for partners in the Microsoft ecosystem.