January 29, 2018

What makes a good Mendix Business Engineer?

Recently my colleague Maarten Veger was explaining his vision on The Top 3 things a Pega BPM consultant should be good at – an article that I really liked. As I am responsible for the Mendix team at BPM Company, I take the opportunity to explain the five things that make a good Mendix Business Engineer. Mendix and Pega are both model driven platforms, similar but very different at the same time. In fact, there are a lot of similarities in terms of the profile needed for a Mendix developer. But there are also some specific qualities that make the difference in being a good Mendix developer. The main theme in both technologies is that it’s important that a consultant can help bridge between business needs & the IT application.

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 1 – Analytical skills

The most important competence a Mendix consultant should have is to be analytical. This might sound obvious, but nevertheless it’s a very important basic skill.

Mendix provides an extensive set of tools and platform services for the entire app lifecycle, from ideation and development through deployment and operation. When you develop use cases from the requirements and model these into applications, you need to filter out the right information and select the right tools from the toolbox. Analytical skills will help you do this job successfully.

2 – Speak the business as well as the IT language

With the Mendix platform, we focus on the business requirements and we organise the work based on user stories. We provide working demos every sprint and validate constantly with the business. Complex business logic is modelled together with the business and end users are closely involved in testing. User feedback is treated in a feedback loop.

So you translate constantly between business challenges and the technical challenges. It helps a lot if you can work in the middle. With Mendix, a tech savvy business analyst can do an excellent work and largely contribute to the development of new applications. Also as a business-savvy developer will enjoy the development of applications in close collaboration with customers.

3 – Process-oriented thinking and modelling

It helps if you are comfortable drawing out a diagram of the process, it doesn’t matter if that’s in a tool or just on a whiteboard. As long as the process model is a simplification of reality and helps the different persons define the new business process.

In Mendix, modelling is the most important skill. The visual modelling capabilities increase development productivity. Applications are built with components and business logic workflows to graphically represent applications in a human readable form.

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Related to Mendix, I see some additional skills on top of the top-3 blog that are very useful for making the best applications in the most effective way.

4 – Understanding software development concepts

Thinking in terms of software concepts will help you to make better models. Model driven development uses visual modelling techniques to define data relationships, process logic, and build user interfaces. Model driven software development empowers both developers and business users to rapidly deliver applications without the need for code. The Mendix software application model is defined on a higher abstraction level and then converted into a working application using automated transformation or interpretations. Understanding the underlying concepts will help you getting things done in the right way.

5 – Creativity, being Passionate about innovation

Your job is about digitizing operations to do things better, faster, and cheaper; finding new ways to engage users; and bring new products and services to market. This is hard work, and creativity will help you to come up with innovative ideas that make the difference. While the Mendix platform allows you to convert these ideas in a fast way into applications – you are in the driving seat.

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It helps to be a successful Mendix consultant when you are analytical, understand business as well as IT, and can think and design in terms of processes and modeling. Understanding software concepts is also very important to get it done in a proper way. Creative thinking will help you to find innovative answers.

These are the top competences I’ve experienced that help someone to learn and use the Mendix ‘toolbox’ to create successful applications that support business processes.