All of us live in a world which is definitively moving towards being completely digital. Organizations, big and small alike, are finding it difficult to adopt their IT needs and practices to align to the modern world. There have been half-hearted attempts to move towards automation. App development is one such area of concern for the IT managers. App development is still largely controlled and managed by large engineering/technology teams relying on traditional ways of doing development, which is focused on technology rather than business imperatives. Also, the business stakeholders like product managers and business analysts are part of the development process only during logical units and the technical modules are developed in silos and then a big-bang integration cycle happens, gobbling up enormous amounts of time and energy. Process improvements like Agile and Scrum have improved business stakeholder involvement during the development cycle, but with limited success. The real problem will be solved only when a new revolutionary way of app development evolves, where the business stakeholders drive the show with technology stakeholders playing second fiddle. But it has to be supported by an equally effective development process and an able application development platform.
Low Code Platforms
Low-code development has been proposed as an alternative to traditional IT app development process. It has been adopted by a handful of organizations across the globe and has, to a small extent, alleviated the challenges mentioned in the last section. But it is yet to scale up to be universally appealing to everyone in an enterprise. For instance, there is still a big dependency on the technology teams to get things done due to which business teams still use out-of-the-box SaaS services, which offer limited flexibility to get things done thereby, creating more silos inside the organization.
WaveMaker, Inc. proposes 2-pass development as a new app development methodology that can be used with a low code platform to do away with all the application development challenges that were mentioned earlier and to optimize the entire app building experience.
2-pass development approach, as it says, has 2 passes in app development- a business pass and a technical pass.
Any time an app is to be developed, the requirements are passed on to the Business pass team comprising of business stakeholders like product managers and business analysts and we group them as “RAD Developers”. They gather the app requirements and start to build the app using a low-code platform like WaveMaker. The app building is usually creation of the user interface with live/test data, using visual app building experience provided by the platform. Visual app building involves simple drag and drop for UI building, connections to various systems like DB, LDAP and ERP and 1-click deployment into various environments like QA, staging and production among a host of other rapid development features.
However, there will invariably be some app requirements that are not available out of the box and need to be customized for the specific app. These are the requirements that will be passed on to the technical pass team to be taken care of. For instance, a particular customized UI widget that is not available out of the box, would be requested to be built by the technical pass team.
Technical team accomplishes two purposes. First, they create all the generic visual reusable components that are needed for the app building by the Business Pass team. Secondly, they also create the specific app requirements that comes from the Business Pass team and they quickly get back to them.
Members of the technical pass team are professional developers who specialize in front-end, back-end and integration(API) development.
Benefits of 2-pass development
2-pass development and Bimodal IT
The best part of the 2-pass development philosophy is that it fits nicely into the popular IT philosophies. One of the most popular one is the Bimodal IT. Check out the synergistic relationship between 2-pass development and Bimodal IT.
Business-focussed app development
One of the biggest benefits of 2-pass development is the business-focussed app development. Since the Business-Pass team, comprising of business stakeholders, is a part of the app development team, they are completely plugged in during the app development process. This is completely different from the traditional development process, where business stakeholders are plugged in during the initial requirements gathering phase and then only in logical intervals of task completion. In fact low-code platforms like WaveMaker allow you 1-click preview, which allows you to view the project as a customer would see and offers you the exact stage at which the project is in.
Do away with a force-fitted integration cycle
Even when the Business Pass team reaches out to the technical pass team, it’s driven by business imperatives rather than a technical overhang. This change is important since it does away with an entirely important part of the traditional app delivery process – namely Integration cycle and testing. In traditional process, Integration testing in some cases weeks to months together, since the technical modules got started to be done in silos and then they were integrated.
But in 2-pass development, we start with a single project, and reach out to the pass-2 team only when there is a need for customization. Even the pass-1 team is expected to work directly within the aegis of the low-code platform and hence the integration testing cycle is completely eliminated.
2-pass development and Agile process
The best part of 2-pass development philosophy is that it’s not a brand new philosophy and fits nicely into the existing app delivery methodologies like Agile. It can use the existing resources and in fact optimize their usage. For instance, each of the passes can be independently handled as an agile process. And the collaboration pass, where the business and technical passes need to collaborate, can also be done in an agile process. A good low-code platform will make this process easier, because both the passes, though they do different kind of work, are done inside the same platform. So anything that is being developed by technical pass is visible to the business pass during the development. In a way, the business team is a client of technical pass team. In this way, even during collaboration, the project is driven by business imperatives rather than technology dependencies.
WaveMaker Low-Code platform for Rapid Application Delivery
Organizations across the globe rely on WaveMaker to leverage 2-Pass Development for their application delivery needs. Our Rapid Application Development Platform is the most open, extensible and flexible low-code platform that complements your existing enterprise application delivery. You can get started with a free, 30-day on-premise or online trial.