I´ve been part of many governance, security and works council briefings regarding the Power Platform components. We´ve seen analysts from Gartner also talking about „How to Define and Guide Citizen Development Practices“. While each of its components is worth taking into account separately, I´ve always recommended to follow the platform approach and talk about a platform enablement instead of an individual technology or product enablement.
The reason for this is the deep relationship between the Power Platform services, sometimes even dependencies that would cause trouble, if you go with a product by product approach instead. Not to forget the deep relationship with Microsoft 365 these days where several features already could be used by having assigned a Microsoft 365 license.

Challenge: Name the Power Platform capabilities in total, without talking deep technical phrases.

When it comes up to prepare any briefings – like for instance an internal works council briefing – I encourage folks to first setup a common understanding of each product included main purpose and the related challenges that might occur using any of those services. The visual below shows a summary of recent work around this.

Power Platform challenges & main purposes

But that´s of course not all. Everyone should fully understand why Governance, Security, Adoption, Training and Nurturing is important. A good starting point for this is offered inside Microsoft´s documentation. One way to look at this is asking yourself why citizen developers would be a new generation of risk managers in your company?

How to educate and support them without blocking their engergy, enthusiasm and ideas around building something for better productivity or digital transformation. In the following visual, I tried to outline why there´s a new generation of risk managers in terms of using Power Apps and of course, you could run this exercise for every single product insight Power Platform.

Power Apps – citizen developers becoming risk manager

As a result, you would hopefully agree, that this is nothing special that comes with Power Platform. Instead, it´s been there with any „low-code“ development. So using Microsoft Excel and VBA Macros for instance, is something to consider having the same constraints and rules. While following a low-code platform approach though, we do want to take into account a simplified and secured process that allows everyone of us to start development as soon as an idea is born.

Asking yourself: How to?

Coe Starter Kit – Maker Assessment App Process flow

Above visual outlines a process that could be implemented based on the Center of Excellence Starter Kit – Nurture components, specifically the Maker Assessment. The process outlines a simple approach of ensuring that your company compliancy rules are not violated, when starting a new low-code project. A CoE Team working in the backend of supporting each citizen developer to become familiar with standards, rules and regulations, though ensuring there´s no blocker or over-complicated approval process in place to start working on an idea.

In the past, I´ve seen awesome customizations around this component, that I am not able to talk about or share in more detail. But the fantastic part of all those was seeing companies using the Power Platform capabilities to help automating and simplifying the process, by (for example)

  • Setting up internal community landing pages
  • Customizing App Assessment Questionnaire to fulfill internal needs
  • Sharing and provide guidance on compliance standards and regulations
  • Ensuring an agile development, while backend processes ensure company standards fulfilled
Maker Assessment – Data questionnaire

As an example in above visual you could see a current questionnaire around data used in a project idea that you might come up with. The guidance to the right could be fully customized, same as any question and equip each citizen developer to meet compliancy standards or find support by the resources that needs to be involved, such as your Data Security Officer for instance or Works council depending on the project you build with low-code platform.

The following visual shows a simplified report, each assessment will result in. With the capability to customize this, including further processes, you could imagine how this could enable each citizen developer to handle risk mitigation and stay compliant to company standards, without feeling a painful process being in place, that would stop them from following-up on their original idea.

Maker Assessment – Result Details

If you haven´t seen Center of Excellence Starter Kit in total, ensure to check out the video series. Keep in mind that the purpose of this is a quick start – customization expected. I also like to motivate to provide your feedback using the GitHub repository. And if you´re new to the Power Platform and ask yourself around adoption framework, please read about the maturity model provided by the Power Platform CAT (Customer Advisory Team) here. You´ll find tips and tricks shared that are the result of conversations with customers like you.

Until then, …