6 Crucial Roles for Low-Code Development Teams

Author: Michelle Gardner, Appian

Low-code is the new way for IT teams to build applications. It’s not just faster—producing powerful applications at 10 times or more the speed of traditional development. Done right, low-code enables you to deliver better functionality while relying on nimble, egalitarian development teams.

Unfortunately, even IT shops that have started embracing low-code may only be scratching the surface of its potential. To get the full power of low-code, you can’t just replace Java with a low-code platform and run everything with the same bloated teams and drawn-out processes. You need to instead embrace some key agile approaches—starting with your dev team. 

Low-code teams should be leaner than typical software development teams. Since low-code is easier to learn than traditional high-code practices, your team will require fewer specialized roles (like a back-end database developer or front-end UX designer). Instead, developers who have some skills in fields such as UX, ethnography, testing, and business analysis can be cross-trained as low-code developers. These newly created “generalized specialists'' provide overlapping skills that allow you to build development teams differently and unleash the full power of low-code.

The “developer and _____” approach.

With a low-code team, it’s better to think of roles as “developer and _______” functions, for example, “developer and tester” or “developer and Scrum Master.” Everyone from team leads to architects can develop features. And every developer should have at least one additional specialty area, such as UX design, testing, or business analysis. Low-code team design de-emphasizes specialization and encourages teamwork. Everyone pitches in, and everyone is considered equal. 

With fewer specialty roles, low-code teams have lower costs, both in terms of labor and product design. The teams have fewer people, each of whom is fully utilized, and the cross-functional, collaborative quality of the teams means there’s a better chance of building the right product first—and fast. The versatility of low-code teams removes bottlenecks and reduces dependencies. You no longer have to wait for a database specialist to find the time if you have a developer who’s also a database expert on your team. 

6 roles to include on your low-code development team.

As you assemble your low-code team, make sure these six speciality areas are covered:  

  1. Product owner: This is the only role that does not also help develop features. The product owner should express what’s needed from a business perspective, prioritize value, and ensure that requirements are visible, transparent, and clear to all.
  2. UX designer: At least one role on your development team should cover UX design. This person can ensure good design principles are followed and craft solution blueprints for important design decisions. 
  3. Architect: This role ensures the team builds the application the right way by directing the solution architecture. 
  4. Business analyst: This role will dig into the business requirements and user needs. They ask probing questions and think through every scenario to turn complex processes into something that can be built into a solution. 
  5. Tester: In addition to developing features, this role focuses on exploratory testing to find breakable areas that aren’t caught by test scripts. They also have knowledge of tools for automated tests and performance and load testing. 
  6. Team lead or Scrum Master: This role helps enable the team to build quickly. They’ll coordinate development work, removing impediments and encouraging agile practices.

The payoffs of a high-performing low-code team.

Low-code can be an incredibly powerful tool, and the right development team with the right structure and mix of skills makes all the difference. What’s the payoff?

  • Speed. High-performing low-code teams can deliver significantly more functionality versus traditional software development teams in the same amount of time.
  • Impact. Small teams working collaboratively and iterating quickly are in a better position to deliver more powerful applications closely aligned with customer needs.
  • Power. Low-code teams can develop applications that quickly scale across the enterprise.

Forming a highly effective low-code development team depends on not only finding the people you need, but also getting them up and running as quickly as possible. Don’t underestimate the importance of low-code certification and training. With the right low-code team in place, you can build better products with fewer people and see faster time to value. 

Posted: February 16, 2021

Michelle Gardner


Michelle Gardner is a contributing editor of lowcode.com. She has written about enterprise technology for companies including Appian, OpenText, and Logi Analytics. 

Low-Code Guide

Low-Code development is the way to build apps more quickly by reducing the need to code.