Two minute take: Building with low-code or no-code as a product — not just a project

Just because it can be built, doesn’t mean it should be built.

What does this mean in the context of no or low code technologies? The growth of new platforms or tools has lowered the “barrier of entry” for creating a dynamic digital product. This is a fact that is celebrated by many, but is it always beneficial?

The differences between a product or project is widely defined and depends on the internal culture of teams and organizations responsible for those definitions. Commonly, projects are a component of a greater whole, while products are that whole.

As an example, a product idea is conceived, developed, iterated, and defined and then built. While a project could be one of the steps of that process.

The two terms are often conflated and teams responsible for building a “product” can soon turn into a “project team”, narrowly focused on project timelines and individual tasks, while overlooking the broad goals and ambitions, of the product meant to be built.

Building a product — not a just a project

Due to the rapid nature of low or no code development, it can be easy to “just start” and not focus on longer-term goals or needs of end users or the market. Just because something can be built quickly, doesn’t mean it should be built.

Asking the right questions to focus your application on your target user and their needs — not simply chasing the hype of low code early adoption within your team or organization — should be the first step.

A few questions are outlined below that can be asked to ensure you’re building a product, not just another low or no code project.

1. Who are my target users?

  • How will I reach them?
  • Are they technically capable to utilize what I am planning on building?

2. What are their needs and how will this product address those needs?

  • How many users have this need?
  • Why hasn’t it already been addressed?
  • If it has been addressed, why is there still a need?

3. What is the goal of addressing this need?

  • What will motivate users to use your application to address their need versus another application?

4. How will my product change user behavior?

  • How will you measure this change in user behavior?

5. How will I validate these assumptions? (Questions 1–4)

6. How will I measure adoption, user behavior, and addressed needs?

These are all high-level questions that can be a starting point when building a no or low code product that will create measurable impact for end users, not just a project that can successfully be delivered.

Providing the lowdown on no-code / low-code development. Structured analysis direct from practitioners.