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Why No Code Transformations Fail

Penned By -
Sanjeev Lalwani

Let’s do a small thought experiment. Think about a time when there were no printing presses, no huge machinery that could print tens of thousands of papers a day. Instead, you had blocks and dyes that were used to print papers. Suddenly, someone says that there is a printing press. But, you, as a publishing house owner, are worried about the 1000 things that can go wrong in this transformation and are naturally worried about it. Yet, you take a leap of faith, and make the change in a single night without a plan, and fail. You then tell your friends from the industry this story. They are naturally worried about this and don’t adapt to the new technology easily.

The story of digital transformations is similar to, and no code is no different. There are a lot of failures in adopting this technology, but there is one thing that is different. This time around, there are well-documented case studies and blogs (like the one you are reading right now) to give you a list of things you need to avoid, so read on to find out 5 major reasons why no code transformations fail.

1- The Resistance (friction)

No code, to date, sees a huge resistance not only from developers but also from project managers, DevOps teams and even from the business itself. While the worry on the developer end is about their jobs being taken away, on the project management end, it is purely about the complacency of adapting to the change.

The newness of the methodology that shows up as complexity is overwhelming to the people involved and this builds up resistance, a side product of which are frustration, demotivation and annoyance.

Having said that, we do see resistance in any change.  In my last 20+ years of the technology transformation journey, it is seldom seen that resistance is towards anything that is not mundane.  One of the ways to overcome resistance is to develop a friction-free execution culture, and in one of the points below, we will see that no-code allows for seeding this culture.

2- Leadership Decisions

When timelines and expectations are unrealistically set by the leadership from day one, the impact is exponential. Given the uncertainties of traditional execution, there is significant anxiety about a successful outcome.  This creates pressure to set unrealistic expectations.   No-code is not a shift from one tool to the other, it is a shift in the paradigm and the way your business thinks and operates. Due to this, not only setting timelines but also picking the right people has a huge impact. Failing to choose the people who understand the intent and the philosophy is a grave error that needs to be avoided.  

3- Change Management being an afterthought

All discussions around transformations talk about technology and yet the most impacted are people. This is exactly why in the digitization era, change management is at the forefront. Not only having the buy-in of the people but also involving them with decision making will make their worries around the uncertainty in the need of their role go away and be a key differentiator in the failure or success of the transformation. This also gives you an opportunity to identify the resistors and address their concerns. It is also important to understand that change management needs proper investment and experts instead of just handing this over to project managers due to its intangible nature.

4- Silos being an accepted reality in the system

No-code is inherently about focusing on what needs to be done rather than the exact code that needs to be written. The focus, in no code, shifts towards logic and the outcome that businesses need. Additionally, another advantage that is advertised is rapid changes being possible, but this can not happen if your organisation is working in silos. If the developer does not go outside his cabin, both figuratively and literally, to understand the pain points from the sales team and the customer feedback from the support team, they will not be able to empathise with the requirements that come in. So, this organisational change of breaking down silos is necessary for a successful no-code transformation.

For example, one of our customers’ IT team faced tremendous pressure from their business teams and market to deliver a solution in a matter of 3 weeks. Whilst, it took us 1 week to understand the user stories however in the next 10 days we were able to deliver an end-to-end solution, and still have a few days left for incorporating user feedback and changes.  No-code helped us to complete the user stories ahead of the expectation.

5- Expecting exponential value

This factor might have an indirect but significant impact in the transformation. Organisations depend on big bang methods to achieve success in gaining gradual and continuous improvements with progressively decreasing time to market. Sounds counterintuitive, right? A common trap in this method is to get stuck in analysis paralysis as you want the “best outcome”. There is nothing wrong with incremental value. In fact, we’d say incremental steps are preferred as they give you more opportunities to reflect, introspect and most importantly, correct them without major impact, since, if they are recognised and corrected at the very end, they might have a higher time and money impact.

These five (5) factors are in no way comprehensive or exhaustive.  What other reasons could lead to a failure in no-code transformation as per you? We should mention

  1. Are these different from any other tech/platform stack implementation?
  2. How can PRODT help, any reference to our work
  3. Despite the challenges and failures, why we still propose that No-code is still the recipe to Digital Transformation.