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6 tips for creating citizen development upskill programs

A recent Nintex blog examined how reskill and upskill programs help organizations overcome the growing global workforce skills gap by elevating skills in-house. The blog also discussed implementing citizen developer and citizen process expert programs as part of an organization’s reskill and upskill strategy.

Citizen developers – the employees who are trained to use no-code and low-code automation, AI, or other technology solutions, but may not have professional coding or developer skills – are on the rise. Along with the rise of citizen process experts who are SMEs with in-depth knowledge of how work is getting done in an organization, from processes to the systems and stakeholders involved. These experts are trained in process documentation, process mining, and task mining. Both citizen developers and citizen process experts work directly within a line of business as opposed to IT.

Effective citizen development re-skill and upskill programs can equip a workforce with the skills required to thrive in the current and future age of automation. But how should an organization go about building citizen development programs? Here are 6 steps to get started.

6 Keys to implementing a successful citizen development re-skill/upskill program

1. Identify gaps and define goals

The first step to creating a citizen development program is to evaluate the actual current state of people resources, workforce skills, technologies, processes, and business efficiency against both the ideal current state, and the requirements of the anticipated future state. In doing so, a business can identify and measure workforce and skill gaps.

After identifying the specific departments, skills, and technologies that will be targeted in the development programs, timelines, budgets, success metrics, and forecasted business impact should be clearly defined and documented, or even formalized as a business case. 

2. Cross-functional leadership alignment

Leaders from the line of business, IT, and HR need to be bought in and aligned on the need, purpose, scope, and goals of the citizen development program for the initiative to be successful. Buy in and alignment should be first gained at the business case stage. Alignment should again be attained before rolling out the citizen development program, with emphasis placed on ensuring job responsibilities and processes across teams involving automation citizen developers and citizen process experts are clearly defined, understood, and agreed to.

3. Define a formalized training program

When establishing a citizen development program, organizations will need to develop a curriculum based on the target skills and technologies. and will need to determine how the curriculum will be delivered by answering question such as:

*Will there be an on-the-job component such as job shadowing or working on an existing project team?

*Will training courses be live, or will courses be pre-created?

*Will the course content be created in house or will training courses and certifications through technology partners be leveraged?

Nintex University offers on-demand training and certifications for citizen developers

4. Formalize job responsibilities

A citizen development curriculum should not only include technology training, but should also define participants’ job roles and responsibilities after training. The curriculum should also include setting clear expectations and processes that define how citizen development employees will work with other teams.

See how Nintex Process Manager can improve process understanding and ownership.

To that end, automation citizen developer and citizen process expert curriculums and on-the-job responsibilities should be designed to complement each other. Understanding from the beginning how the two roles will work together to drive process improvement and transformation will set the teams up for success and maximize business impact.

Lastly, organizations should also consider formalizing long-term career paths for citizen development roles to gain employee buy-in.

5. Don’t forget about governance

Automation citizen developers and citizen process experts will be implementing business solutions using low-code/no-code automation, process management, process mining, and task mining software. While enabling employees to leverage these solutions with less IT reliance is the purpose of citizen development programs, it is still critical to establish guardrails to mitigate business risk. Organizations should work with IT to formalize governance processes and controls.

6. Organizations should continuously evaluate their citizen development programs from several perspectives.

First, organizations should measure program performance against the set goals and objectives. Second, organizations should monitor how existing citizen developers and expert teams are performing and determine if there are process or skill gaps that should be addressed to solve for present needs. Third, organizations should continue to look ahead at how new technology and the changing business landscape will impact future needs and skills to make upskilling a continuous process.

A well-defined and aligned upon citizen development program can provide near-term business impact, such as accelerating automation time to value and improving ROI, while setting up an organization for future success with a modern skilled workforce. These 6 tips provided a framework to help organizations get started.



To learn why the Nintex Process Platform is the best process intelligence and automation platform for citizen developers and citizen process experts, check out our recent webinar.



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