Project Management

How Will Citizen Development Impact Leadership, Decision-Making and How Projects are Run? Part 1

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Citizen development is a disruptive approach to digital transformation and organizational innovation, where teams are empowered to turn ideas into applications using no-code/low-code technology. This blog provides insights, advice and practical knowledge from thought leaders and practitioners in Citizen Development.

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5 Top Citizen Development Myths Busted

Empowering Citizen Developers: Overcoming 5 Common Challenges Together

Citizen Development: The Path to Success Starts Small

Can No-Code/Low-Code ERP Replace Traditional ERP Platforms?

No Code, Big Bucks: How Citizen Developers Can Capitalize on the Future of Tech 


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Welcome to my 3-part series on how citizen development is impacting projects and project management. Through the lens of citizen development, I’ll be looking at the areas of:

  1. Leadership – How citizen development relates to the leadership face
  2. Project Manager – How citizen development relates to the PM face  
  3. Decision making – How citizen development can impact decision making

How Citizen Development Relates to Leadership

People see leadership differently. To some, it means listening to your followers and make everyone happy, and to others, you have to take that strategic decision which in turn could mean saying ‘NO’ to certain quarters and ensure alignment to the strategic objectives of the organization. No doubt, becoming a good project manager does not end with just project management skills.


Leadership theories work, but sometimes situations in the organization are different. This leaves a leader to his fate to swim through the twists and turns of the rapidly changing environment.


A leader must set the path right for the organization and must do all that is required of him to grow the organization. Now, let us examine who is a good leader or the must-have leadership qualities of project managers.

Every Project Manager should wear a leadership face and drive the project team to achieve the expected deliverables. Listed below are qualities that make a project manager a leader.


  1. LEAD: A good project manager must be able to lead his/her team to achieve the agreed deliverables. If a Project is a temporary endeavor to create something new or to deliver a service, then a project manager's job is to ensure he or she leads the project team to achieve success with the approved budget. Leading citizen development in the organization will not only grow the leader but also the project team will equally grow.  


  1. ETHICAL: Every system has its ethics. These are the rules and standards guiding the system. PMI has ethics guiding the professional conduct of members. So, a project manager should equally be conversant with the ethics, moral standards, and culture of his/her project, the people, and the environment. Understanding ethics will help in the effective delivery of projects. No doubt, the citizen development framework developed by PMI will help in a great deal to Launchpad citizen development in any organization.


  1. ADAPT: Project Management practice is evolving, so a project manager must be able to adjust to new conditions, learn new skills using the PMI Talent Triangle as a guide, and make himself/herself suitable for a new use or purpose as he/she delivers a project. No doubt, the more he/she knows, the easier for him/her to switch to a new purpose as required by the job. The citizen development framework will help in the adaptability of easily managing and delivering projects faster.


  1. DISCIPLINED: A project manager must be disciplined. Lots of highly demanding challenges would come while on the job, these could alter the lifecycle of the project and make Estimation at Completion (EAC) shoot beyond budget. It is important to follow all the Change Control processes as guided by the governance structure in place. No project manager should be reminded that he/she should not receive a gifted bribe and returned all the unspent funds to the company after closure and signed-off of a project. With a citizen development framework and low-code/no-code platform, there would be fewer funds to throw around and services will be delivered cheaper.


  1. EVOLVING: The world is evolving, and so a project manager must evolve with the practice. Long before now, most project managers are comfortable with waterfall methodologies, having projects divided into phases but Agile dropped in new flexibilities with an iterative and incremental approach to deliver projects using sprints. PMI found it important to match these methods together, developed the frameworks for Citizens Development (Citizens DeveloperTM), and open its doors for whatever would make Project Management practice better.


  1. RESPONSIBLE: A project manager is fully responsible and accountable for what happens in the project lifecycle. He/She leads and coordinates the project team, plan project activities, manage project priorities, execute and control the project, manage the change control systems, drives decision-making, promotes stakeholders involvement, communicate project status and manage the budget. A project manager must be responsible for the outcomes of a project.


  1. SMART: For effective delivery, every project manager must work with SMART criteria to attain the goals and project objectives. These SMART criteria are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Therefore, when planning a project's objectives, each one should be:


  • Specific: The goal should target a specific area of improvement or answer a specific need.
  • Measurable: The goal must be quantifiable, or at least allow for measurable progress.
  • Attainable: The goal should be realistic, based on available resources and existing constraints.
  • Relevant: The goal should align with organizational objectives to be considered worthwhile.
  • Time-bound: The goal must have a deadline or a defined end.


  1. HONEST: Honesty is another leadership quality that a project manager must possess. Project managers must report the realities of the project, but there must not be room for any cover-ups at all. A project manager should not shy away from projecting the true pictures of the project. These stories are eventually documented as lessons learned and become a source to effectively manage other projects of the same category. Another good advantage of these documented stories is that it gives room for thorough analysis and deliberations which would be helpful to mitigate risks in future projects.


  1. IMPARTIAL: A project manager should not be partial in managing the project team. Everyone should get what he/she deserves as dictated by the requirements of the project. Being open and effective communications help a project manager to manage this so he/she does not look biased. Sometimes, based on the requirements equipment will be approved to a functional head while others who made an earlier request for the same equipment feel neglected but proper feedback will help redirect activities to ensure no time lag and effective delivery.


  1. PROGRESSIVE: A project manager should be progressive by nature. A project manager involves in continuous improvement and detailing a plan as more detailed and specific information and more accurate estimates become available. Through progressive elaboration, a project management team define work and manage it to a greater level of detail as the project evolves. In Agile, the team utilizes iterative and incremental development to manage backlogs through planning, execution, review, and retrospect. The generic project lifecycle is in phases; this includes conception and initiation, planning, execution, performance/monitoring, and project close. A project manager progresses in these five (5) phases to deliver project outcomes. With citizen development, these stages are streamlined and delivery is faster.

I look forward to sharing my next blog with you where I look more at the impact of citizen development on the project manager.




Posted by Jelili Odunayo Kazeem on: January 14, 2021 02:48 PM | Permalink

Comments (19)

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Toyin Fatubarin Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Well said on the different facets that the Project Manager has to hold. The LEADERSHIP acronym and the breakdown for the various areas is indeed powerful. One has to constantly evaluate how he/she is doing in these areas throughout the course of individual projects and career as whole!
Great article!

Jelili Odunayo Kazeem Co-Founder| Convosync Solutions Limited Enugu, En, Nigeria
Glad you found the article interesting, Toyin!. Thank you for taking out of your precious time to read, quite appreciated. I can't agree more. The world is changing, managing project is evolving, and Project Managers must evaluate themselves accordingly. I will share Part 2 of the article in few days. Please feel free to share with your networks.

Muhammad Nishad Bayan Project Manager| ConvoSync Technical Solutions Kerala, India
Well said mate! Fact

Jelili Odunayo Kazeem Co-Founder| Convosync Solutions Limited Enugu, En, Nigeria
I will post and share Part 2 and 3 in few days. Thank you for taking out of your precious time to read the article.

CHIGOZIE NDEKILE PM I| Xstrata Professional Services Limited Abuja, Fct, Nigeria
Nice piece. I love the part where you mentioned that as Project Managers we must evolve. embracing the agile mindset is one area where traditional PM must evolve.

Gbadeyan Timothy Project Director| Timglobal Technologies Ltd Lagos, Nigeria
Nice write up. I am looking forward to the next blog, perhaps a continuation of the "progressive point". Hearing about how the project phases are streamlined for a faster delivery is very captivating.

Jelili Odunayo Kazeem Co-Founder| Convosync Solutions Limited Enugu, En, Nigeria
Thanks for taking out of your precious time to read. Part 2 and 3 will be out in days. Indeed, Citizen Development is the new organizational revolution. This is the future of work! Get started here: #PMICitizenDeveloper #citizendeveloper #lowcode #software

Jelili Odunayo Kazeem Co-Founder| Convosync Solutions Limited Enugu, En, Nigeria
I can't agree more. The world is changing rapidly and Project Managers must evolve. Thanks for taking out of your precious time to read. Part 2 and 3 will be out in days. Indeed, Citizen Development is the new organizational revolution. This is the future of work! Get started here: #PMICitizenDeveloper #CitizenDevelopment #lowcode #software

Eduard Hernandez
Community Champion
Senior Project Manager| Prothya Biosolutions Amsterdam, Netherlands
Nicely written post and infographic.

Kwiyuh Michael Wepngong Financial Management Specialist | US Peace Corps / Cameroon Yaounde, Centre, Cameroon
This is crucial for PMs in a fast paced world an in an ever evolving tech sphere

Aws Shehab Deputy IT Manager & Financial Affairs Support| ATU Duty Free Salalah, Dhofar, Oman
Well Structured Article i totaly agree with Point # 10 " A project manager should be progressive by nature" its motivating the PM and give right path for CD nature.

Scott Ambler Consulting Methodologist| Ambysoft Inc. Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Project managers, like all other professionals, must be willing to learn and evolve with the times. They must be flexible in their approach and tailor it to be fit-for-purpose for the situation that they face, rather than the situation that they hope for. Citizen Developer (CD) is an example of a modern, flexible approach to software/solution development. Disciplined Agile (DA) teaches you how to tailor your approach to be fit-for-purpose, and then evolve it as your situation evolves. They go hand in glove and both are things that PMs need to be adept at.

Tiago Romao Program Manager MSc. PgMP | PMP | ACP | PBA | CBAP | CSM| Altice Portugal | Meo Sobreda, Setubal/Almada, Portugal
Enlighten article. Evolving, continuously learning is fundamental for Citizen Developer. Learning the theory and practise/apply it. Software/solution development demands to code software, from simpler to complex.

Fabio Rigamonti ERP Project Manager| Cegeka Business Solutions Milan, Italy
Very well written, thanks!

I especially appreciate how you linked leadership to citizen development to ethics.
In your model that are 4 important elements:
- Ethical
- Responsible (one of the values of PMI's Code of Ethics)
- Honest (another PMI's Code)
- Impartial (an aspirational standard of Fairness, another value of our Code)

Ethics is crucial for Leadership and will be crucial for be a great Citizen Developer!

Mushtaq Abdulrahimzai SWIS| Surrey Schools District 36 Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Impressive article thanks for sharing.

Mohd Azmirul Adha Azmir Project Manager| Buildserve Engineering Puchong, Selangor, Malaysia
Impressive sharing.

Maysa Qasem Janabyia, Northern Governorate, Bahrain
Thank you for this article. Citizen Development is a new topic of interest to me and I look forward to the remaining series!

Grace Mang-Nduka oasis dental Calgary, Alberta, Canada
very interesting angle. Great work.

Darren George Protulipac Managing Director| Darren Protulipac and Associates Ltd. Niagara On The Lake, Ontario, Canada
Thank you for sharing your views - and knowledge. Kind regards

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