Technology typically leads to polarized opinions. Always has…Vinyl/CD…Betamax/VHS…HD-DVD/Blu-ray… Of course, our minds know that it depends on the detail, but our hearts have preferences based on our experience. This product over that one. This technique over this new one. You like this tool better than theirs because you know and trust it. You do this, don’t you?!
Imagine you are implementing a new solution for a customer and you are asked to choose between a Flow or a Plugin for a new piece of functionality. If you are a pro-coder, then naturally you will find the Plugin option the most attractive because you trust it – later you might decide it’s over-kill and decide that it can be done using a Flow. If you are a functional consultant who is only too aware of the total cost of ownership of ‘code’ then you’ll try and achieve the functionality with a Flow, but then you might find it becomes too complex and needs a Plugin. You naturally start with a position that you know best. Am I right?!
We know there are thousands of variables that affect our ultimate decision – different people will end up at different decisions and the ‘side’ you start from might affect the outcome. But one thing is for sure – building software is far from simple!
The Microsoft Power Platform 'Code or No Code' battle has been bubbling away for at least a year now. It’s an unfortunate mix of sweeping statements about not needing code anymore resulting in passive-aggressive comments from Pro-Coders about how they got you here in the first place.
Not everyone gets it
Sara Lagerquist and I did a mock 'fight' at the recent Scottish Summit 2020. We demonstrated the polarised viewpoints in an attempt to make see the futility of it. But not everyone gets it...
Why is all this happening? Simple, because of human nature. It’s only natural to react to something that threatens our thoughts and ideas with a response that's at best, defensive, or at worst, passive-aggressive. It has nothing to do with technology, or code/no-code. It has everything to do with the ‘tribal’ attitudes that have started to emerge. This problem is no one's fault - but rather an unfortunate side-effect of successful online community building centered around the different parts of the Microsoft Power Platform.
I'm guilty too!
I am guilty of this too. I am an enthusiastic evangelist of the PowerPlatform and its no-code/low-code aspects – but still when I see the weaponizing of hashtags like #LessCodeMorePower - I get defensive. I’ve worked hard my entire professional career to get proficient at code – now someone is saying that solutions have more power with less of me? No way!
I’m sure you can see my knee-jerk reactive is misguided. Being condescending towards code is not the intention of the hashtag – but my human psyche kicks in telling me “I don’t like it”.
The secret to letting go
So here’s the secret - the #LessCodeMorePower mantra is actually nothing to do with us! That’s right – it’s not about YOU or ME. It’s about how Microsoft is positioning their product in the market. It's how they are selling more licenses. Nothing has changed – this journey has been going on for a long time – it’s just the latest leap in abstraction. Technology will always move on and change – and that’s why we love being in this industry. Right?
Now, let’s take a step back. We all have a shared love for the Microsoft Power Platform. Building software solutions is hard. Picking the most appropriate technology is hard. The right decision today may not even be true tomorrow!
How do we move forwards?
Pro-coders: When you see #LessCodeMorePower social media posts – work at avoiding being defensive – don’t respond by protecting your corner. This isn’t a criticism of you – you are just experiencing the force of the Microsoft marketing machine. Microsoft is not saying you are no longer needed or that code can’t create powerful solutions. The Microsoft Power Platform needs code as much as it needs no-code - and in fact, that is one of its strengths over our competitors!
Low-coder/No-coders: Make sure you use #LessCodeMorePower hashtag appropriately. Be considerate of all perspectives – is it really the right use? Use it to promote specific strengths of the Power Platform but not at the expense of making pro-coders defensive. Don’t just say ‘anyone can write apps’ or ‘it’s simple to develop software’ – put these powerful statements in context! You don’t really believe in those overly simplistic ideals without adding at least some caveats! Promote the platform, but not at the expense of your fellow community members.
The unbreakable oath
Overall, let’s all be considerate of the whole spectrum of our software development profession. Pro-Coders, Low-Coders, and No-Coders - encouraging one another rather than creating division. Together, let’s unite and make the Power Platform shine.
Here is the oath that Sara and I took at #SS2020 – join us!
I do solemnly swear…on Charles Lamanna’s face…
To love, honor & respect all those who develop solutions on the Microsoft Power Platform.
To encourage one another through difficult projects.
To build mutual respect between no-coders, low-coders, and pro-coders.
Together, promoting quality through collaboration and cooperation.