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Building your Community of Practice

Updated on September 27, 2021

In contrast to IT-owned Pega projects which are governed by a Center of Excellence (CoE) and adopt Pega Express as their delivery approach, Pega’s App Factory approach to citizen development involves the creation of a Community of Practice as a complement to the CoE. Because compliance with technical guardrails is enforced by Pega App Factory, the primary goal of the Community of Practice is to support program scale through education, evangelism, and empowerment through the management of requests for reusable components from the CoE. The main roles in a Community of Practice are (1) Practice Managers (who form the Practice Committee), (2) Makers (the people who create and own Apps, and (3) Coaches (mature makers who provide encouragement and guidance through the App creation process).

Establishing a practice committee

Determining the appropriate guardrails for an organization should not be decided in a vacuum. To avoid the perils of misalignment with IT, we know that IT must be involved in the process. And there are other parts of the organization that need a voice in the discussion as the organization guardrails are defined. The organizational representatives form a practice committee and work together to establish the appropriate guardrails for your App Factory. Organizational representatives are referred to as Practice Managers, and together they make up the Low-Code App Factory Practice Committee. In the early days of a program, the Practice Committee may consist of only one Practice Manager to serve as a bridge between makers and the specs CoE. As the program matures, the number of practice managers will increase, and see increased division of skill and responsibility across its members.  

Practice Managers

The function of the practice managers, either individually or as a group, is to serve both as product owners and subject matter experts.

As Product Owners.  Having representation for each area of the business is not always feasible, as many disparate voices pushing for their own ends can lead to confusion and stagnation. In their capacity as Product Owners, Practice Managers represent the App makers; they understand objectives of the App makers and the limitations of your App Factory. As a strategy is built out, they ensure factory processes are usable and welcoming to new and current team members.

The following tasks are examples of activities that the Product Owner performs.

  • Define and prioritize the integrations that need to be made available to your App makers
  • Coordinate with the business to avoid fragmenting business processes into several applications
  • Work with App makers to understand the pain points of the program

As Subject Matter Experts. Practice Managers also function as subject matter experts, in that they understand the workflows, business rules, and outcomes required to achieve a successful outcome. The role of SMEs as members of on the practice committee is to represent your existing infrastructure and systems. It is desirable to avoid the creation of duplicate systems to accomplish the same outcome, and the SME guides App teams to use or improve existing solutions rather than create a new stand-alone solution. Keep in mind that you might have several SMEs on the practice committee to create a holistic understand of your organization's systems and assets.

The following tasks are examples of activities that the SME performs.

  • Implement and document reusable integrations with other systems
  • Represent the IT teams that build and maintain corporate applications
  • Architecture and design review to ensure that data security and integrity are maintained


To create successful App Makers, your App Factory must provide sustained enablement. It is essential to remember that App makers are not trained developers by trade, so quality support is critical. Coaches can provide App makers with ad hoc support, answering tickets, and building a Community of Practice of App makers. Cross-functional experts representing both the business and IT, coaches help capture feedback and guide how to solve business problems by using best practices.

As your App Factory program grows, the number of coaches might need to grow to provide business makers with the necessary support. App makers that have success in building applications in the App Factory are great candidates for new coaches as your App Factory finds success.

The following tasks are examples of activities that program coaches perform.

  • Educate App makers on how to use your tooling to create successful applications
  • Provide second-level product support for released applications
  • Create training materials to enable App makers to more rapidly deliver digital transformation

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