Project Management

Reinventing Project Management with Citizen Development: Will Project Managers Lose Their Job?

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By Mario Trentim

So, you are a project manager, and you´ve been hearing a lot about citizen development. You are probably asking yourself, “What´s in it for me?” Maybe you think that this is IT-only and focused on professional developers. Be cautious though, some people had similar thoughts about Agile twenty years ago.

Well, let´s face it: the project management profession is changing. And if you want to boost your employability and maintain yourself as a relevant contributor to your company, keep reading this article before it is too late!


80% of Project Management Tasks Will be Eliminated

Back in 2019, Gartner said, “Eighty Percent of Today´s Project Management Tasks will be Eliminated by 2030 as Artificial Intelligence Takes Over”. I remember an extensive discussion at that time, and most project managers were incredulous. They argued that project management is a human activity that a machine cannot perform.

Other human activities are also being disrupted and automated. Take human resources and people management in the era of big data and machine learning, for example. The rise of “digital leadership,” highly effective virtual teams, and online collaboration are undeniable truths.


If 80% of PM tasks will be eliminated,

will project managers lose their jobs?


The answer is yes and no. You will lose your “old job,” but you can reinvent your profession and disrupt yourself, opening a new landscape of opportunities: citizen development and the future of project management.

Before I give you the long answer, it is essential to emphasize that humanity is transforming fast. Peter Diamandis, the author of the best-seller book “Abundance,” says that we live in a time of more opportunity and abundance than ever before. According to Diamandis:

  • Food had a 13x reduction in cost
  • Energy had a 30x reduction in cost
  • Communications 100,000x reduction in cost
  • Knowledge 1,000,000x reduction in cost


Abundance means more projects. Consequently, project managers are in high demand. The Project Economy, according to, is one in which people have the skills and capabilities they need to turn ideas into reality. “The future of work is fluid, dynamics and goal-oriented; project leaders will be in high demand.” (Cindy Anderson)


We, project managers, will not lose our jobs. Project managers are in high demand and will be in even higher demand because we need people capable of navigating complexities, managing uncertainties, and delivering value to stakeholders through successful completion of projects, delivery of products and services.


What Shall I do, as a Project Manager, to Stay Relevant?

Project Management Offices, project managers, and other stakeholders are increasingly reliant on technology to execute their work. Citizen development is critical to democratize digital transformation, impacting business models and the way we work.

Project managers, business analysts, and project team members are change-makers. To stay relevant, increasing our employability, we need to acquire new skills and competencies, revisiting our experience, and connecting the dots to find better ways to deliver value.


You don´t have to look for another profession.

You have to reinvent your job by adopting a citizen

development mindset, embedding technology into your

project management processes and activities.


A Final Word and Actionable Steps

Back in 2001, Clayton Christensen wrote the book “The Innovator´s Dilemma: When Great Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail”. Technologies are now disrupting professions and career because they change the way we work.

Citizen development is a wake-up call to all professions. Project managers, change-makers, shall lead breakthroughs not only with innovative products and services but mainly with methodologies and frameworks.

The first step is to adopt a growth mindset (Dweck, 2015). The second step is to become aware of the transformations impacting your profession and organizations. Stay tunned on the Citizen Developers community at and revisit The Project Economy website at Finaly, the third step is to start your citizen developer journey.


Join the conversation below and let me know your thoughts. Next week, I will provide real-life examples about the “PMO of the Future” and how project managers are applying citizen development to improve project management processes and results.

Posted by Mario Trentim on: March 11, 2021 01:43 PM | Permalink

Comments (4)

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Luis Branco CEO| Business Insight, Consultores de Gestão, Ldª Carcavelos, Lisboa, Portugal
Dear Mario
Very interesting the theme that brought to our reflection
Thank you for sharing your opinion as well as the articles by Gartner and Cindy Anderson

Mario Trentim CEO| PMO Global Alliance Sao Jose Dos Campos, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Thanks Luis.

Alok Priyadarshi Project Manager| Tata Consulting Engineers Limited Jamshedpur, Jharkhand, India
Very relevant. Thank you Luis !!

Jody Temple White Citizen Developer, PMP, Operations Specialist| ASG Projects, LLC Portland, Or, USA
Great post. I wholeheartedly agree "to stay relevant, increasing our employability, we need to acquire new skills and competencies, revisiting our experience, and connecting the dots to find better ways to deliver value."

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