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Rapid Application Development: Moving the Problem to the Right

We hear it all the time: As the development queue grows, so does the pressure on IT to deliver. Managers and executives want mobile applications yesterday, and IT is struggling to simply keep its head above water. As a result, many IT organizations are on a mission to reduce development time. Unfortunately, we’ve found that this only serves to move the problem to the right, so to speak. Let me explain.

Initially, at least, the choke point in application delivery appears to be the development team. Months pass, the backlog grows and the business demands to know why apps haven’t seen the light of day. Hand coding a mobile application for one platform can take weeks, even months – never mind coding it for multiple platforms. Organizations try to solve this problem by automating manual coding processes with rapid application development (RAD) tools. And it helps – to a degree.

RAD tools enable development teams to build applications faster so they can move on to the next project. But it doesn’t solve the ultimate goal – getting applications to customers faster – because applications must still be tested and the infrastructure configured. None of this is fully automated. The plethora of tools available for trying to implement continuous integration and continuous delivery must be manually configured and integrated using scripts. So now operations becomes the choke point in application delivery.

But the problem doesn’t end there, either. In some ways, it only begins when the application goes into production. As soon as they begin using an application, users have the expectation that improvements will be many and often. This puts the onus back on development to improve the mobile experience, deliver new functionality and fix bugs on existing mobile apps – in addition to developing new ones. The bottleneck has now come full circle.

Looking beyond development

The key to preventing these bottlenecks is to consider the application lifecycle as a whole. In addition to accelerating the development process using a no-code or low-code platform, IT organizations should automate the entire delivery process as well – from development, through test, and into production. A solution that combines all of these into Rapid Application Delivery ensures that no single point in the application lifecycle becomes a choke point. A Rapid Application Delivery platform that understands the dependencies between all apps and infrastructures can cleanly automate, verify and govern the delivery pipeline with single-click speed and efficiency.

Automating the entire application lifecycle also helps IT organizations transition to/embrace a DevOps culture. Because Development and Operations teams don’t talk to one another, share the same goals or use the same tools, DevOps can become particularly challenging when it comes to change management. A Rapid Application Delivery platform addresses these challenges. One platform controls the entire change management process, making it simple for Development and Operations to have a role inside of the platform and limiting potential errors that result in a failure. In short, a Rapid Application Delivery platform facilitates DevOps efforts without increasing risk.

A Rapid Application Delivery platform offers another interesting benefit. It can actually increase application adoption. Oftentimes users will open an application, use it once or twice and then decide whether to continue to use the app based on whether it is updated regularly. Users will stick with even a mediocre mobile app if they know that it is updated frequently and continually improving.

The successful and efficient delivery of a modern application requires that IT organizations consider the entire application lifecycle. Automating development at the expense of operations only serves to move the problem to the right and doesn’t address the ultimate goal: to get apps into the hands of the user. Adopting a DevOps mindset and automating the entire lifecycle with the help of a Rapid Application Delivery platform can do just that.

About the author

Sean Allen

Providing passionate perspectives on a variety of modern IT topics, Sean currently pours his energy into changing how the world thinks about delivering beautifully functional applications while injecting unprecedented efficiency into a status quo that threatens to swallow enterprise IT whole.

Comments

Russell Richter

Sean, I appreciate your passion, perspectives and the power of the simplicity with which you:

– Share understanding & wisdom
– inspire others to reach for “far side simplicity”; to see solutions beyond the tsunamis & vortices that would swallow them.

I have read other summaries of yours, find you to be practical & poetic (as Scottish warriors would say) , an exponent of Meyer’s Law.

From your perspectives, I am certain, you have come across Meyer’s Law or approached very close to it yourself.

Meyer’s Law, states “it is simple to make things complex, & [but…?] complex to make them simple.

Sean, I am only starting out with OutSystems, but see much of its value, & like you, it’s pracrical application of Meyer’s law.

Looking forward to more of your insights, meeting you one day & perhaps even working a few perspectives together.

Keep the passion, the vision (perspectives), the purpose & the power (capacity) to help many see simply, …

Sean Allen

Russell-

Thanks so much for your kind words and encouragement. Welcome to the OutSystems community!

I completely agree with you – there is amazing power in simplicity. There is a companion rule to Meyers stating that flexibility is the enemy of simplicity. We spend our days (and nights) bending that rule to give our customers and unfair advantage in the fight.

I wish you nothing but success as you increase your usage of the Platform and please don’t hesitate to let us know how we can help!

Best regards-
Sean

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