In my previous article, I explained the importance of quality and a healthy backlog to the process of sustaining and driving low-code application delivery to provide quick, valuable features based on prevailing prioritization: the Secret Sauce that supplies the fuel to the OutSystems low-code engine. I described key triggers to attaining and continuing high-speed delivery and changes to your applications.
In this article, I expand on the backlog foundation and outline a common adoption lesson: how to create organizational comfort with iterative-feedback into development efforts.
Disrupting Traditional Development Cycles
The OutSystems low-code platform introduces disruption to existing organizational “muscle memory”—a process and set of behaviors that reflect development being the longest step in the application delivery timeline. From my experience, most organizations lean toward infrequent requirement formation and usability validation—the traditional software delivery struggles that affect responding promptly to use a healthy backlog.
This “muscle memory” strains adoption of Minimum Viable Product (MVP) applications combined with quick, user-influenced changes based on iterative-feedback loops. When discussing the concept of MVP with customers, the user-community responses have been along the lines of: “MVP means releasing a final version after nine months and having no changes for six to 12 months.”
What largely does not exist is the ability to quickly build an initial application with MVP features, adjust these features with deployment to the targeted environment(s), and promptly obtain user feedback, prioritizing it at the top of the list for the next iteration. If you can’t build and change your applications fast, the user feedback and collaboration to those changes loses value (and future buy-in).
A New “Muscle Memory”
Let’s think about the impact of a new muscle memory—capabilities that reflect disruptions to traditional experiences in the software development lifecycle. What would be the impact if you could:
- Spot a new market opportunity? Address an inefficient internal process? Improve internal and external collaboration?
- Quickly launch an application to address those needs?
- Obtain timely feedback from the users to improve process and features?
- Rapidly deploy the changes?
- Measure the impact and ROI (Return-on-Investment)?
- Continue to iterate on feedback, changes, and deployment in a rapid manner and increasing consistency?
These capabilities reflect the Journey OutSystems customers experience as traditional barriers begin to erode and a new muscle memory starts to take hold. With the business now partnering with IT to drive the prioritization and speed-of-change, a new initiative-planning capability allows different responses to the typical questions of “What do we need to do differently to take advantage of this opportunity?”
The Iterative Feedback Cycle
The diagram outlines the impact of the collaborative model when business and IT are empowered to quickly spot, address (specify and prioritize), and deploy. With heightened collaboration reflective of a product approach, the business is actively involved during a build phase (sprint) by validating targeted features before releasing them for initial user feedback.
The user's feedback then feeds usability into the backlog, initiating a new development cycle.
From my experiences of working with customers, I recognize and always state that every customer is truly unique—different people, culture, process, priorities, technology, and skills. What I have concluded is that the factors in the adoption are the people and the culture, not technology. An appetite for change will often propel an organization beyond the barriers of learning. Process and technology are by-products of people and culture.
Every customer will undergo their Journey with OutSystems as they leverage our low-code platform.
If you are an OutSystems customer, you are likely familiar with the rate at which the adoption and exploitation of these new capabilities occur and are undergoing the Journey as “new muscle memory” is built.
For those not familiar with OutSystems, let me pose a few questions:
- How quickly are you currently able to respond as an organization through collaboration with the business and IT? How difficult is that process?
- What would the organizational impact be if there were comfort in quickly addressing the business community needs and responding rapidly with high quality?
What will be your muscle memory story?