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Low-code application development and the Pega Express delivery approach

Updated on January 3, 2022

Start delivering granular applications that precisely meet your business requirements by applying low-code application development. After you familiarize yourself with low-code tools and processes, you can quickly start creating software, and as a result, achieve your business objectives.

The Pega Express delivery approach

Pega Platform supports an iterative and agile approach to building applications that is called Pega Express™ delivery approach. In the Pega Express delivery approach, achieving a main business objective is presented as a journey that you can divide into smaller parts – Microjourneys. When you focus on one Microjourney at a time, you ensure that you can deliver software that helps customers achieve their goals in the most efficient and suitable way. Then, you can iteratively expand and update your software to adjust to changing business circumstances.

Before you start creating applications to complete your Microjourneys, answer the following questions:

What is the purpose of my application?

The goal that you want to achieve dictates the actions and processes that you need to include in your Microjourneys. You define actions in your Microjourneys by building case types that are visual, reusable, and granular templates of your business processes. During the life cycle of your application, you can expand and edit initial versions of your case types to better fit your business goal. For greater flexibility, you can define which actions you want to start conditionally or optionally, under only the circumstances that you specify. As a result, case types that you build are more flexible and adjust better to various scenarios. Because case types and their elements are reusable, identifying repeating actions in different Microjourneys saves time and other resources during application development.

With Pega Platform, you can focus on the business objectives and create flexible software that exactly suits your requirements, instead of strictly adhering to fixed solutions that over time might stop fulfilling their initial purpose. You can respond in an agile way when the path to the objective needs changing, and even when the objective itself changes.

For example: When you design an application for an HR department, think about the goals that the software needs to meet. Hiring a job candidate and reviewing expenses require different sets of actions, and breaking them into separate Microjourneys might help you focus on delivering solutions that exactly fulfill each goal. The following table lists sample actions that each Microjourney might include:
Hiring a job candidateReviewing expenses
Collecting personal detailsCollecting personal details
Reviewing work experienceCollecting receipts
Conducting a job interviewReviewing receipts
Approving or rejecting a candidateApproving or rejecting a request
Optional: Running a background checkOptional: Applying currency rates
For each Microjourney, identifying repeatable elements and optional actions can save development resources when you build the software.

Who is my application for and how do they need to use it?

Although an application might include a high level of automation, in most cases, it also involves interactions with end users. In Microjourneys and in the Pega Express delivery approach, groups of users correspond with personas. Each persona has a unique set of skills, objectives, tasks, behaviors, and business roles, and might interact with an application in a different way. For example, a set of available actions might be different for an HR worker who reviews a job candidate, than for a hiring manager who either approves or rejects the candidate, because a set of skills and business requirements is different for each of these users. Personas help you visualize those groups of users so that stakeholders and the development team can better understand who uses the application. By understanding the specific needs of users you can better tailor the application process and user experience to each persona.

Additionally, consider the different channels that users might employ to interact with your application, such as a web portal or a mobile application, as well as the different devices that users might work with, such as mobile phones and tablets. Define the elements that particular participants need to access so that you can avoid exposing the users of your application to irrelevant content. Finally, decide whether your application users need both online and offline access to perform their work.

For example: Consider a scenario in which you need to create an application for the following types of personas. Each persona uses a different channel and performs different actions in an application:
Job candidateMobile app
  • completing forms
  • uploading attachments
HR workerHR portal
  • verifying forms
  • opening certain attachments
Hiring managerManager portal
  • opening all attachments
  • accepting and rejecting candidates
By listing personas with relevant channels and actions, you can tailor your application to meet the needs of different types of users.

An important aspect of application development is accessibility, so that users who experience your application in a different way can have a successful Microjourney. Consider the following scenarios:

  • A part-time customer service representative (CSR) at a hotel chain has reduced vision and a slight hand tremor. The CSR has difficulties reading small text and clicking on small links and form elements. The CSR relies on enlarging text in a browser, but often text and pages do not format correctly, which requires a lot of scrolling. The CSR prefers using a keyboard to a mouse due to the hand tremor.
  • A visually impaired college graduate uses screen readers while working at a government office to process building permits. The graduate has difficulties when fields on forms are not labeled, which results in mistakes in processing and filling forms, and requires the graduate to work longer hours. Also, the graduate misses some information that only images and graphics include.
  • A bank clerk helps customers set up new accounts and tries to sell related products as he gets a partial commission. His co-workers are unaware of his difficulty distinguishing red and green. He has difficulties when reviewing his progress in an application that uses colors for indicating opposite meanings like good and bad as they all look brown to him.

    The following figure shows a pie chart that an application displays with red and green, and the image how the bank clerk from the example might perceive the chart:

    Different perceptions of colors
    A pie chart that demonstrates how different users perceive

When you design your application, take into consideration unique scenarios and experiences that users might have, so that you can create an inclusive and flexible Microjourney. For more information, see Configuring an accessible UI.

How does my application source and store data?

Data is an essential element in work processing. When you design your Microjourney, think about the different data sources that you need to successfully complete your business process. Pega Platform offers multiple ways of sourcing data to meet your unique business needs. You can create an application that collects information directly from end users, reuses data that already exists in the system, or that connects to external databases to take advantage of third-party resources. As a result, you maximize efficiency during both application development and actual processing.

For example: During a hiring process, a job candidate provides personal information by completing a form in a mobile application. The candidate can also attach any relevant documents, such as scanned university diplomas. An HR worker who works on the process sources the work experience of the candidate from an external database. The personal details that the candidate provides are applicable for other processes, such as preparing an offer for the candidate, or preparing onboarding.
Reusing data in a Microjourney
A process flow chart that shows how you can reuse data in a

An example of a Microjourney

Consider a scenario in which a customer creates a loan request. The objective of this Microjourney is to review the request from the customer. The business process requires the following actions:

  • Collecting information from a customer
  • Reviewing and evaluating collected data
  • Rejecting or approving the loan request
When you know what actions are part of the business process, you can decide what personas and channels the process involves, for example:
  • A customer who creates a request through a web portal
  • A worker who reviews and processes collected data through a mobile app for workers
  • A manager who approves or rejects the request through a mobile app for managers
You can also define what data the business process needs to reach resolution:
  • Personal details that the customer provides
  • Banking history of the customer that an application sources from an internal database
  • Credit score of the customer that an application sources from an external database
The following figure summarizes the Microjourney of reviewing a loan request:
Microjourney in the Pega Express delivery approach
A sample Microjourney of reviewing a loan request, broken into case
                            stages, personas, and data types.

Designing Microjourneys

Pega Platform offers a low-code tool that you can use to conveniently discuss and design your Microjourney in cooperation with other stakeholders. By designing your Microjourney in App Studio, you document the business process workflow and requirements, both for IT and non-IT stakeholders. For more information, see Designing and tracking Microjourneys development and Creating a Microjourney for customer success.

For example: The following figure shows a sample Microjourney that focuses on reviewing a job candidate, with the actions that users perform, the types of users represented by personas, and the data that the Microjourney requires.
A Microjourney in App Studio
Case Designer in App Studio showing a detailed view of a sample

For relevant learning materials, see the following modules on Pega Academy:

For more information about Microjourneys, see Pega Express delivery approach.

  • App Studio overview

    Turn your application development into a no-code, user-friendly experience by working in App Studio. In this authoring environment, you can configure the main elements of your applications that include templates for your business processes, personas that are involved in the processes, interaction channels, and data.

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