Low-Code Embodies an Agile Ethos to Deliver Greater Application Agility
February 06, 2024

Deepak Anupalli

Today's businesses thrive when they embrace technological transformation. Digital transformation incorporates the latest technologies to power business processes, including building custom applications using AI-powered low-code platforms and agile software development.

Agile development continually improves enterprise applications and shortens development time, helping companies stay competitive. Artificial intelligence (AI) automates processes to improve efficiency. Agile and AI low-code are naturally symbiotic, providing the means to streamline application development by building on existing software and components. Combining agile best practices with AI-powered low-code for enterprise software development yields new levels of efficiency. It represents a profound shift in how businesses can apply technology to drive innovation.

The Low-Code Explosion

Low-code technology platforms are being rapidly adopted by developers everywhere. Gartner predicts that the market for low-code development solutions will reach $26.9 billion in 2023, up 19.6% from 2022. Forrester's research shows that 71% of software developers are adopting low-code.

According to Gartner, the need for customized automated workflows creates the demand for low-code development. The drive for greater operational optimization is promoting interest in hyperautomation, including adopting AI and machine learning (ML) to streamline business processes and using AI for low-code development. According to McKinsey, generative AI has the potential to automate activities that take up to 70% of employees' time today.

Enterprise software developers are already using agile development to code enterprise applications. Just as agile practices are used for generative software development, generative AI will continually improve the quality of low-code platforms. Agile and low-code stem from a similar philosophy — streamlining processes by building on previous versions. By applying agile and low-code together, enterprise developers are realizing new levels of efficiency and flexibility.

The Low-Code/Agile Mindset

Agility is not just a methodology; it's a mindset; it's about being adaptable and responsive to change using an iterative approach. Similarly, low-code platforms inherently align with the same principles but with a higher level of abstraction.

Low-code prepackages software elements such as the UI widget library — tables, lists, tabbed panels, etc. The objective is to abstract code functions so developers can think about an application's intent or purpose rather than the code itself. With AI-enabled low-code, machine learning continually refines the low-code components, improving functionality based on the programmer's intent. As a result, developers can state their intent in natural language, assembling the components needed for enterprise applications.

Agile software development applies many of the same principles. Just as low-code generates reusable components, agile development uses boxed sprints to create software quickly in a collaborative way. Agile also emphasizes continuous improvement, with each sprint building on the previous software iteration.

Low-code and agile also share the notion of collaboration. Low-code promotes collaboration with visual modeling, feedback loops, revision tracking, and other tools to promote cross-team collaboration. Agile development is founded on a philosophy of collaboration and feedback, using previous iterations to inform the development of the next release. The low-code and agile mindsets complement one another.

The Synergy of Low-Code and Agile

Agile development is about responding quickly and efficiently to change. It's also where AI low-code shines and embodies the low-code ethos:

Speed and Efficiency: Developers use low-code platforms to reduce the time required to develop and deploy software significantly. Agile development enables businesses to adapt quickly to changing market conditions, and low-code allows developers to create applications rapidly using visual, drag-and-drop interfaces.

Collaboration: Low-code technology fosters collaboration between IT teams and business stakeholders, just as agile development focuses on collaboration and feedback. With a shared development environment, everyone is on the same page, promoting constant feedback and iteration, a hallmark of agile practices.

Rapid Prototyping: Agile principles break down larger, complex software projects into smaller sprints that can be delivered in the shortest time frame. Low-code technology enables the quick creation of prototypes and minimum viable products (MVPs).

Flexibility and Adaptability: Applications can easily be modified and updated using low-code, an essential part of an agile development environment. Agile accommodates software requirements that evolve rapidly, and with low-code, change management becomes seamless.

Empowering Professional and Business Developers: Professional developers rely on the power of abstraction and want the ease of low-code with the precision and control of custom coding. Low-code democratizes software creation by abstracting software functions, extending development beyond IT professionals to citizen developers. Empowering business users to contribute directly enhances agility.

Continuous Improvement: Agile development is characterized by delivering continuous improvement through regular review and revisions. Low-code platforms include built-in monitoring and analytics tools that provide insight into application performance. The data-driven approach of low-code supports agile development practices and makes integrating emerging technologies like AI, the Internet of Things (IoT), and blockchain easier.

The Power of a Combined Low-Code/Agile Ethos

The synergy between low-code and agile is undeniable. Low-code embodies the agile ethos, empowering organizations to develop more responsive, iterative, and adaptable applications.

By embracing low-code and agile as part of enterprise software development, businesses can adapt swiftly to ever-changing market dynamics. Developers are empowered to innovate using data and AI to guide strategic decisions. Adopting a low-code/agile mindset represents more than a technological shift but a cultural transformation that sets the stage for innovation and competitiveness in the digital age.

Deepak Anupalli is Co-Founder and CTO for Wavemaker
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