Let’s review the trend of no and low code tools and what it might mean for the future of product teams.
I believe this to be because software engineering has been the bottleneck on development teams for some time.
While custom engineering isn’t going anywhere, the future of the role is likely to change. Let’s talk about the opportunities that might create for product teams.
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Hey folks, Sean here and today what I want to
talk to you about is why I think software engineering
as a skill set is becoming slightly more commoditized and
what that might mean for product teams everywhere.
So I’m sure my product teams are
fairly familiar with this, but for the
longest time now, the biggest bottleneck product
development has typically been the engineering component.
As in it takes the longest amount of
time in order to go from our designs
and our required experiments to actually getting those
features and functionality into the application itself.
As such, over time, a significant amount of
resources have been placed here trying to figure
out how to do so faster.
And there’s been all kinds of invented models and
new tools that have come to market, enabling us
to be able to speed this process up.
Here everything from the Lean Startup kind of revolution
all the way to and through what is commonly
referred to as no code or low code platforms,
which I’ve dived into and pretty significantly as well.
Also I’ve leveraged them for a number
of my client projects and we’ve built
some pretty comprehensive and impressive products using
some of these platforms like Bubble. Bubble.
IO is kind of an ecosystem, if you will, of
being able to build almost an entire application, if not
an entire application, that has the look and feel of
being able to be pretty significantly customized, but is largely
a no code or low code platform, meaning that you
don’t really need to write significant amount or really any
code at all in order to create the kind of
experience that you’re looking for.
Which again, if you are heavy with tuning into
some of my content, you’ll understand how important I
feel that that is for us and our role
as product leaders to make sure that the experience
that our product ultimately delivers is optimal and matches
essentially solving the customer’s top problems and pain points.
So because that’s the area of focus, it’s really
important if we have an opportunity to place most
of our resources and focus there because that’s ultimately
what we’re doing on the back end in terms
of how the technology works.
And self admittedly, I’m an engineer myself and I have
a lot of respect for the work that engineers do.
However, having said that, recognizing the fact that
it has been the bottleneck, these applications have
grown significantly in that their popularity has grown
pretty aggressively because this has continued to be
a challenge for product teams, especially when looking
to do something new or create new features
and functionality and want to speed up the
product development production process.
These tools have enabled us to be able
to do that and that pattern continues.
Very recently, I’ve read about a product
called cumul.io, which has raised Series A
over $10 million very recently.
And that is a tool that enables
you to incorporate some essentially more advanced
analytics and bi type tools for business
intelligence capabilities into SaaS platforms.
But to do so yet again as a low code platform,
which is pretty advanced capabilities as it pertains to low code
or no code platforms, but an all important one because still
yet a bottleneck on the demand side is how do we
process and get the best type of information out of all
of the data that we have now?
Because there’s an overwhelming amount of data in
the world and not enough processing power or
capabilities to really better understand and extract information
from it, which is typically the desire.
So products like Familio which are specialized,
and bubble which are more generic, are
providing us with essentially an ecosystem worth
of options when it comes to building.
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Now, there’s still a place
obviously for custom engineering, right?
If you need a product to scale as aggressively as
something heavy like a salesforce or a HubSpot or something
like that, your NoCode platform is not typically going to
be able to handle that type of volume, at least
not yet, and may be able to do so eventually
if this pattern and trend continues.
But for now, your custom engineering will enable
you to benefit from operational efficiency at scale.
However, before you get there, when you’re trying
to experiment and you’re trying to test new
products and things like that, if you want
to speed up the product development process.
So far the trend has been no code and
low code platforms seem to be here to stay.
They continue to be able to raise money,
they continue to be adopted by product development
teams and they continue to enable teams to
move faster in the development cycles.
So what I’m trying to explain for you here is
that how I see this pattern developing over the past
few years and where I think that it’s going and
then I want to talk more about what I think
that means for developing product teams and the changes that
might become so if this trend continues.
What it will mean for product teams, in my opinion,
is that as I’ve thought about how it gets broken
down before in terms of responsibilities on a product team,
I usually do so in three different ways.
I would put the what we are intending to build and
why we are intending to build it into the product category.
So product managers and product people
who are interacting with customers and
users to do research and discovery.
It’s our responsibility to figure out what the priority
is, to build what the problems we’re solving are,
where the obvious unmet needs are those types of
things, and then work with our engineering or development
teams in order to prioritize those for development, which
I would consider to be the how.
As in how are we going to capitalize on that
opportunity, how are we actually going to build that, how
are we going to bring that experience to market?
So that’s where I draw the line most of the
times, the what and the why lives on the product
side, the how lives on the engineering side.
What I’m continuing to see more of, especially
in the early stages of this work, is
that the how is becoming more commoditized.
And I think that is happening because it’s, for
quite a while now, continue to be the bottleneck,
as in folks have wanted to move faster.
Everything else is accelerating, yet that’s
what’s taking the most time.
So much of the innovation has gone into that space
in terms of figuring out how to speed it up.
And I think that’s where we’re seeing a
lot of this development come from in terms
of low code and no code platforms.
As such, over time, I could see teams changing to
be less engineering focused, more product focused, as in the
new bottleneck, which I think is still something that doesn’t
happen all that efficiently, if at all.
On a lot of product teams is the research and
discovery aspect, which I would argue a bias to your
course because now my heavy focus is product.
But I still think that is one of
the most important, if not the most important
way that product teams can achieve success today.
You have to get with your customers, you have
to spend time with your users, and you have
to better understand where the opportunities are.
So refining that process and making that process more
efficient will ultimately make it more effective, which will
enable your team, as part of the next phase,
to move even faster in terms of success.
So I just wanted to share these trends with
you and that this is what I have continued
to see and I think it’s going to continue
to follow this pattern for the foreseeable future.