Project Management

Three Important Lessons I Learned about Citizen Development from PMXPO 2022

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I’ve been managing projects as either a volunteer or professional since I was 16 years old. Much of what I know about project management I learned through trial-and-error, hard knocks, and late-night emails or Slack messages. 

Today, I’m Chief Marketing Officer at Pipefy. We offer a business process automation platform for citizen developers, and we’re working closely with our friends at PMI within their Citizen Developer program. As an example of our perspective on the important role of citizen developers, Pipefy recently published a white paper titled “Low-code Automation: Good for Business, Great for IT” which clarifies how to overcome challenges in building successful partnerships between IT and citizen developers. 

In March, I enjoyed PMI’s 15th annual PMXPO along with more than 60,000 attendees! Pipefy was very proud to be an exhibitor at PMXPO and also a sponsor. The same month, I also earned my certification as a PMI Citizen Developer Practitioner (CDP).

What did PMXPO and CDP certification teach me about world-class project management? I can only say that my career would’ve taken a much more direct path, had I attended PMXPO when I was getting started in 2000. Of course, PMXPO was not available at that time, but here are three important lessons that I learned from PMXPO 2022 which I will carry forward with me. 

Lesson #1: The PMI community draws its power from members traveling the same journey
There were more than 60,000 attendees from 175 countries at PMXPO on March 24. I wondered whether I would find anyone I knew at the event, and my jaw hit the floor when I saw Kerman Kasad, PMI’s VP of Global Communications and Brand, in the opening keynote. Kerman and I worked together in 2012 at Symantec, the software security company. Kerman and I had lost touch, and here I was again, listening to his wise words, 10 years after I’d last seen him. 

I wish I could have browsed through the thousands of PMXPO attendees to look for other friends and colleagues with whom I’d lost touch. PMI has clearly established a community in which we can continue to learn from one another through PMXPO, other events and the great content published on the PMI website.

Lesson #2: Businesses have embraced citizen development
Samantha Mulford’s talk titled, “Transform YOUR Organization, Become a Citizen Developer Practitioner,” made the promise that we can empower people to make ideas a reality. Her presentation left no doubt that the citizen developer movement and No-Code/Low-Code application creation have matured. We are at an inflection point in this new era of hyper-agile software development.

Samantha shared these important statistics about how quickly things are changing for citizen developers:

  • Microsoft predicts that in the next five years, 450 of the 500 million of the business apps built will be built with No-code/Low-code.
  • By 2023, the demand for citizen developers will be 4X the demand for professional developers.
  • 81% of companies are already using Low-Code/No-Code or plan to soon

Pipefy sees the same truth that Samantha described. Citizen developers can drive digital transformation with low-code approaches for People Operations, Revenue Operations, Finance Operations and IT Operations. But they must drive that change by collaborating closely with IT. They must integrate low-code apps with legacy “high-code” systems like SAP, NetSuite, Workday, or ServiceNow.   

The Citizen Developer Practitioner certification course goes into more detail on the partnership between Business and IT, and the hyper-agile software development lifecycle. The SDLC scores citizen development projects according to risk and technical complexity. Some low-code projects representing low risk and technical complexity fall into the Fast Track category, requiring little to no involvement from IT. Assisted projects require some IT involvement, and projects with highest risk and technical complexity should be delivered by IT. 

Source: PMI Citizen Developer “Suitability Assessment Download Risk/Technical grid”

Lesson #3: People Operations + Project Operations makes hybrid models work    
Keynote speaker Laszlo Bock shared lessons he learned as previous Chief Human Resources Officer at Google and current CEO and Co-Founder of Humu. Many of us have spent two years working through the challenges of remote work, posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, I’m coming up on a year working at Pipefy, and I’ve yet to meet several of my direct reports in person. 

Laszlo discussed the new challenge of making human connections without being able to sense the subtle visual cues that are easier to notice in person, in three dimensions. He talked about ideas such as “nudging” employees to make it easier for them to do the right thing, instead of trying to force them to comply with a heavy-handed approach. Laszlo discussed the five important elements of culture (purpose, trust, clarity, learning and inclusion).

At Pipefy, one of our most important user groups is People Operations leaders like Mr. Bock. Our Pipefy platform automates the nudging he described, helping HR leaders and their teams automate people operations workflows like recruiting, employee onboarding, or HR request management, by breaking those workflows into their individual actions and then assigning them to the right person, at the right time, with the right context.

By automating some mundane (but necessary) tasks, People Ops teams are free to do the empathic, culture-building work that Mr. Bock described.

I could go on and on about other great PMXPO sessions, but this was meant to be a brief blog post!

Pipefy sustains citizen developers, so they can help their teams focus on transformation
The Pipefy platform was created specifically to support citizen developers and their teams to transform the business without so much reliance on IT resources. If you are a citizen developer, Pipefy would love to partner with you and your team to create and support low-code applications that drive true digital transformation.

Here are four easy ways to get started with Pipefy:

  • Schedule a meeting to share your low-code project idea with us. We can build you a working prototype of your application in a few days and teach you how we accelerate citizen development. You can do this easily on our website (click the “Contact” button in the upper right on any page).
  • Read our new white paper “Low-Code Automation: Good for Business, Great for IT”. It describes how to enable citizen developer initiatives, relieve pressure on IT teams, and build rapport between IT and business units. 
  • Signup for a free trial of Pipefy and try it yourself.
  • Join us at the virtual Gartner Application Innovation & Business Solutions Summit on May 4, 2022
Posted by Justin Sears on: April 07, 2022 12:45 PM | Permalink

Comments (2)

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Rami Kaibni
Community Champion
Senior Projects Manager | Field & Marten Associates New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada
Good points Justin. Thanks for sharing what you've learned.

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Michel van Osch Partner| Business Synthesis B.V. Netherlands
Although the points are interesting, it is hard to deny that the blog is more an advertorial for a particular low-code vendor.

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