Democratizing Software Development: A Systematic Multivocal Literature Review and Research Agenda on Citizen Development

Björn Binzer*, Till J. Winkler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


While the ongoing digital transformation is boosting the demand for digital solutions and digital skills, organizations worldwide experience a shortage of IT professionals and particularly software developers. At the same time, the increasing prevalence of low-code development platforms (LCDP) allows organizations to introduce citizen development initiatives to promote and accelerate their digital transformations. Citizen development represents a novel software engineering paradigm which enables and supports the development of software by non-IT professionals, consequently referred to as ‘citizen developers’. While there is a vivid discourse on citizen development in the practice community, research on this phenomenon is still scarce. We conducted a systematic multivocal literature review including research and practice publications, and identified six key themes: 1) definition and characteristics of citizen development, 2) enablers and expected benefits of citizen development, 3) challenges of and criticism towards citizen development, 4) citizen development strategy and implementation, 5) citizen development governance, and 6) citizen developers’ profiles and skills. Moreover, we propose a research agenda for future work on citizen development. Our research contribution is to synthesize the existing knowledge on citizen development and to point out future avenues to propel research on this emerging and contemporary phenomenon.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSoftware Business: 13th International Conference, ICSOB 2022, Bolzano, Italy, November 8–11, 2022, Proceedings
EditorsNoel Carroll, Anh Nguyen-Duc, Xiaofeng Wang, Viktoria Stray
Number of pages16
Place of PublicationCham
Publication date29 Oct 2022
ISBN (Print)9783031207051
ISBN (Electronic)9783031207068
Publication statusPublished - 29 Oct 2022
Event13th International Conference on Software Business. ICSOB 2022: Software for Digital Transformation - Bolzano, Italy
Duration: 8 Nov 202211 Nov 2022
Conference number: 13


Conference13th International Conference on Software Business. ICSOB 2022
Internet address
SeriesLecture Notes in Business Information Processing


  • Citizen development
  • Citizen developer
  • Technology democratization
  • Low-code development platforms
  • Multivocal literature review

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