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5 Principles of Enterprise Low-Code Application Development

Michelle Gardner, Appian
February 26, 2021

In 2020, low-code application development went mainstream. Organizations everywhere prioritized the ability to rapidly adapt, making the Low-Code Application Platform (LCAP) an essential part of the enterprise technology stack.

Low-code may be everywhere but many IT and development teams are failing to reach its full potential. Ironically, they're running low-code projects with traditional, high-code development practices.

To transform your enterprise with low-code, you need to rethink your approach, from how you design solutions to how you structure your teams. Follow these five principles to improve your agility, flexibility, and cost efficiency while delivering meaningful business results.

1. Accelerate time to value

Low-code simplifies the flow of ideas to application, removing obstacles that often slow projects down. Time to value gets even faster with an incremental development process, which lets you show value to stakeholders early and continuously throughout a project rather than all at the end. As business users see their ideas take shape in front of their eyes, you'll gain faster buy-in on the finished product.

2. Design for impact

Give your users the solution they need, which may or may not be what they say they want. Design thinking techniques can help you uncover hidden needs by defining a common understanding and brainstorming solutions. Treat goals as north stars, driving the way you plan and design throughout the development process.

3. Embrace co-creation

It may be hard to know what features you need until you see them. Likewise, it's hard to build the perfect solution if you haven't lived through the problem. That's why the best solutions emerge when business users and developers create applications together. Enterprise low-code development makes collaboration easy and encourages feedback, which helps you test assumptions along the way to finding the right solution.

4. Organize around small, agile teams

The best enterprise low-code application teams are small, fully formed, and stable. All three elements are crucial. Small, because fewer people means fewer resources to coordinate. Fully formed, because having all the skills you need on one team means fewer dependencies and fewer delays. And stable, because a team that stays together doesn't have to spend time learning how to collaborate. For larger projects, consider using a team-of-teams model, where mostly independent agile teams work together under a common framework.

5. Adopt user-centered design

End users want solutions that are engaging and easy to use. As you design solutions, focus on your users' contexts and empathize with their needs and constraints. Throughout the development process, prototyping will allow you to get fast feedback from users and iterate as you build. User-centered design ensures your application not only delivers value but is also a joy to use.

Appian: Low-Code Done Right

Appian has been a leader in low-code for two years in a row and was recently chosen by customers as the #1 enterprise low-code platform, according to Gartner. The Appian Low-Code Automation Platform makes it fast and easy to build powerful solutions for complex business problems.

Find more best practices, tools, templates, and other resources to maximize your low-code application development efforts in the Appian Delivery Methodology.