Legito PowerUp 2023 How I Became a Citizen Developer (…and why you should too)

  • Charles Drayson is Legito’s Chief Community Officer – he came to Prague to share his story of becoming what Gartner now calls a ‘citizen developer’, and offered a few thoughts on the impact of AI for anyone inclined to follow a similar path.
  • Charles recounted arriving at Ceridian after he was appointed as General Counsel.
  • He had some challenges to address. He was responsible for issuing about 1,000 contract documents a year for a team of 70+ sales people.
  • The products were complex – the task of creating contracts was error-prone, and there was the need for contracts and contract management to match customer projects and revenues.
  • It was time to turn to automation. Without a budget for a consulting team, Charles became a self-taught contract template author.
  • He didn’t know it would become the most impactful part of his career for the next 15 years.

Citizen Developer

A citizen developer is an employee who creates application capabilities for consumption by themselves or others, using tools that are not actively forbidden by IT or business units…
All citizen developers are business technologists. However, all business technologists are not necessarily citizen developers. There is no required designation of proficiency or time allocation for citizen developers but they must be legal employees of an organization.

If I achieve nothing else today, I want to share the sense of fulfilment, satisfaction and stimulus that I’ve got from my work with these platforms. If you are a citizen developer, you don’t have to put up with awkward systems being imposed on you by people who don’t understand the needs of your team. You can build something that suits you
Charles Drayson

Chief Community Officer, Legito


With no-code solutions like Legito, it’s now easier for business subject matter experts to acquire the skills to build compelling solutions for colleagues. It’s no longer necessary to rely on third party developers to interpret and implement business needs. Citizen developers have the opportunity to use solutions like Legito to multiply their expertise and impact.

All they need is:

  • Vision to see how operations could be improved
  • Confidence to try new things and experiment
  • Desire to contribute and make an impact
  • Infectious passion to get support of management
  • Organisations benefit more from citizen developers because they come from the business: their interests are aligned to the organisation, they have a native understanding of the landscape into which solutions will be deployed, and they understand the nuances of business operations well enough to avoid simplistic solutions.
  • They know what good looks like.
  • They will get projects live more quickly, and they will innovate and iterate solutions more regularly.
  • Charles presented some recent headlines suggesting that AI will displace millions of jobs, and he asked whether now is a good time to become a citizen developer.
  • Drawing on examples presented at the conference, Charles looked at the flaws, challenges and failure-modes of AI compared to rules-based algorithms that typically underpin automation solutions before AI.
  • When systems emerge that offer better results than humans, they invariably start with the tedious work that many of us hate, and sooner or later they reach a boundary where they need to be configured, guided and directed by someone who can use human judgement and intellect to know where a solution should stop and where a human should start.
  • Citizen developers will be at that junction.

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