Getting Started With Citizen Developer Hackathons and Communities

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Get started with citizen developer hackathons and communities

Running a Citizen Developer Hackathon and Successful Community

In this unit, there are several short lessons. Each lesson contains videos, followed by text and diagrams that cover similar content, so you can learn by watching, reading, or both. In the following lessons for this unit, we’ll cover the following topics:

  • Hackathons and other citizen developer initiatives at SAP
  • What a low-code/no-code appathon is and why it’s valuable for your team
  • How to get your team on board for low-code/no-code appathons
  • How to run a successful low-code/no-code appathon in your team to further encourage citizen development and innovation
  • How you can use hackathons, appathons, and other initiatives to connect with other citizen developers and grow an active community
  • Tips from citizen development experts on how to continue your learning journey beyond the course

This unit will be a little different from the previous ones, since we’ll also be hearing from various experts who have had experience in putting together hackathons and other programs for citizen development. Enjoy this sneak peek at what kind of insights the experts will share throughout the course:

While this is the final unit of the course, your path to becoming a citizen developer has just begun. We hope you leave the learning journey feeling inspired and empowered with a new set of skills to start innovating.

Introduction to Citizen Developer Hackathons and Communities

Welcome to the final unit in your learning journey about Low-Code / No-Code Applications and Automations for Citizen Developers! This is the last unit in this course, Running a Citizen Developer Hackathon and Successful Community.

Your instructor for this unit is Esmeé Xavier, who leads product communications and community engagement for SAP AppGyver. Esmeé has been focusing on making no-code app development more accessible through engaging content, including an earlier Unit of this journey. She is based in Helsinki, Finland, and enjoys connecting with citizen developers and no-code builders around the globe.

Follow Esmeé on SAP Community

The Case for Citizen Developer Hackathons, Appathons and Communities

This unit is a little bit different than the ones you have completed so far, because we are not focused on technical details, but rather how you can take what you’ve learned about SAP AppGyver, SAP Process Automation and SAP Work Zone, and bring your new skills back to your team and your organization.

Now that you’ve been introduced to business processes, citizen development, and low-code/no-code tools, it’s time to activate these concepts and start building with other users. Being an active part of a community with citizen developers and spreading your knowledge are often the best ways to continue learning and developing your skills. Plus, it’s a lot more fun to solve problems and build solutions together.

One great way to do this, is to have events where you develop new software as a cross-functional team. You’re probably familiar with "hackathons" in one form or another. Typical hackathons often involve coding in intense competitive environments under the pressure of time, with a clear problem to solve. It’s an enjoyable way to engage lots of people to solve a problem and build your digital culture. You can quickly discover needs and problems and innovate to fix them. You are essentially "hacking" the way to a solution versus a normally slower development process.

In this unit, we’ll introduce a type of hackathon designed specifically for citizen developers using low and no-code tools. We call these sessions "appathons", and in this course we’ll explain how you can organize one for your own team. You will hear from a range of experts from around the world to learn key tips, best practices and to feel their energy and enthusiasm about LCNC and citizen development.

Check out this sneak preview of what's to come!

Hosting product sessions like a low-code/no-code appathon gives aspiring citizen developers hands-on practice with the tools in a fun social setting while increasing the innovation power of your organization at the same time. Appathons also create a space to share what you learn and build upon your ideas – both essential parts of becoming a true citizen developer.

The Rollout of Citizen Development and Avoiding Shadow IT

You’ll remember from earlier lessons in this learning journey, we talked about how a benefit of low-code / no-code (LCNC) is avoiding Shadow ITand that the IT department should be in the driver’s seat for the rollout of a citizen development program in an organization.

As a reminder, Shadow IT is any kind of technical workaround or software application that people use without the knowledge or explicit approval of the company or organization they work for, in particular the IT department.

When LCNC tools are rolled out with an IT-managed approach, you can avoid Shadow IT. In the earlier unit, we gave an example of a phased approach guided by IT, starting with a small team of alpha users that become LCNC solution experts, then expanding that to beta users involving multidisciplinary participants, and finally opening up LCNC tools to a much larger group or even all employees and lines of business.

Following on that rollout framework, the hackathons and appathons that we are going to talk about in this unit are aimed at the later phase, where an LCNC solution is already approved by your IT department for you and other colleagues to use.

That’s because we assume by that phase, IT will have set up the governance and guardrails to minimize risk around things like data privacy, security, and technology lifecycle management, so you don’t have to think about those things when you are building your process or app.

With IT-approved LCNC tools, you can focus your time on solving your own problems with LCNC, while the deep technology topics are managed in the background. This empowers you to do what you need to do to optimize your work, with access to the relevant data systems, while IT can protect the company with confidence.

Furthermore, with the right IT oversight in place, many teams of citizen developers across your company could be running their own appathons to tackle similar problems in parallel.

And that is not something to be considered redundant – that is what it means to work at the pace of digital innovation. In fact, it is proven that this kind of distributed development occurring in multidisciplinary teams results in much faster digitalization of an organization.

With that reminder about Shadow IT out of the way, let’s start getting into the fun stuff! See you in the next lesson.

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