Not too long ago, executives wanting to communicate with their staff, would press on their big, clunky, beige interphone and tell their secretary: “I need to send a memo”. The secretary would promptly enter the executive office, write (in short hand) the dictation of the executive, type it on a nice paper with corporate letterhead and send that to hundreds of employees.
This is of course a vestige of the past, emails have replaced the need of “I need to send a memo”; but it is interesting to note that, technology not only reduced cost (secretary not needed for this task) but more importantly gave the executive more control on when, how, to whom etc. send these “memos”. It also eliminated the possible misunderstanding or simple human error that “middlemen” (in this case secretary) could introduce. In summary, technology empowered the executive to be more efficient in performing a key role: communicate.
Now transpose that to LOB applications, nowadays executives have replaced the “I need to send a memo” with “I need you to build me an app”; the dev team would promptly enter the executive office, write (no, not in short hand but using use case diagram and other various specialist notations) the dictation of the executive, type their code in visual studio etc… what if instead of “I need you to build me an app”; executives would be empowered to build their own app (akin to writing their own memo in the first scenario above) ?
Crazy thoughts?! No more than telling an executive in the 70’s that he or she will be empowered by technology to write memos without the help of a secretary.
In fact, we are not far from there. Things like, software factories, domain specific languages, composite application framework, but also Office framework like IBF (and I am sure a few other things cooking) would soon or are already enabling executives to be the “Mort” type of developer. That would be very cool! (except of course for people who today are making a living as Mort type developers)