Project Management

Citizen Development Insights

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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.

About this Blog


View Posts By:

Cameron McGaughy
Ron Immink
Jody Temple White
Mario Trentim
Jelili Odunayo Kazeem
Jason Mayall
Chandrasekaran Audivaragan
Ryan Whitmore
Kimberly Whitby
Vivek Goel
Derya Sousa
Justin Sears
Raveesh Dewan
Dalibor Ninkovic
Ian Gosling
Tara Leparulo

Past Contributors:

Elizabeth Jordan
Arjun Jamnadass
Rogerio Sandim
Martin Kalliomaki
Richard Earley
Maelisa Woulfe
Octavio Arranz

Recent Posts

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 


Agile, Best Practices, best practices, Career Development, CD Canvas, Change Management, Citizen Developer, Citizen Development, Citizen development, citizen development, Communication, Digital Transformation, digital transformation, Documentation, Innovation, IT Project Management, LCNC, Leadership, Lessons Learned, Low-Code, myths, No-Code, no-code, No-code and Gen Z, PM Think About It, PMI, PMI Global Congress 2013 - North America, PMO, Portfolio Management, Program Management, Programs (PMO), Project Delivery, Project Management, project management, Risk Management, ROI, software development, Stakeholder, Strategy, Talent Management, Tools


The 4Ps of Citizen Development: Products, Promptness, People, and Process Framework

Lots of people think Citizen Development is still a buzzword. However, it is interesting to know how the low-code/no-code platforms have grown over the years. I joined the Low-code & No-code (Rapid Application Development by low-code citizen developers) and the Toronto Citizen Developer User Group recently on LinkedIn and was amazed at how people have been doing great with the available low-code/no-code platforms. These platforms have made business users see an opportunity to optimize a process and take it upon themselves to create their apps.


Some have argued, these disruptions in IT will not survive enterprise products, you need to train people to adapt, and those behind the blocks, doing the plug and play designs are IT savvy. Covid19 made the world know that the virus determines the timeline and we just have to regularize the situations to fit. The need for products and services, streamlining business processes determines the timeline now, it is growing by the day, low-code/no-code platforms have come to the rescue, and Project Management Institute (PMI) has developed the world’s first vendor-agnostic governance framework for citizen development (PMI Citizen DeveloperTM).

One of the major factors affecting the prompt delivery of IT products is the miscommunications between the developers and the end-users. Sometimes, these developers waste months and years developing products that would become obsolete or useless for the users. At the core of these are the Four (4) Ps to citizen development struggling behind the scene to take charge. These are products, promptness, people, and process framework. However, all of these are as important as the other.



No doubt, there is a higher demand for IT products or services, the backlogs are growing more than ever, and the IT departments are under pressure to meet this growing demand. Low-code/No-code platforms are growing by the day. The links below are clear on this.

Gartner estimates that low-code app platforms would account for over 65% of development by 2024 (

Forrester forecasts that the low-code market would top $21 billion spendings 2022 (



The demand for enterprise apps to solve complex issues with a couple of clicks is rapidly growing. These growing products determine the timeline now. The available options to get it done faster are the Low-code/No-code platforms. These platforms are equally getting better, products or services are delivered to customers cheaper in less time.



The ease of delivery of products or services in less time has kept low-code/no-code platforms tall. The real-time delivery with fewer clicks or moving blocks is not a disruption, but an easier way of developing products. Quick response to deliver value from Citizen Developers with a few clicks after understanding the requirements is key to making customers happy. Low-code/no-code platforms employ drag and drop tools instead of the usual long codes of programming. Platforms are easily comprehensible and they require less training. They have easy features, tools, and models. Citizen Developers can experiment, prototype, and deliver apps in hours to customers.


       3. PEOPLE

At the core of whole lots about low-code/no-code are the products to service the people. Ideas abound, the tools are now in the hands of the people (employees), and business processes are more flexible. The power to offer solutions is in the hands of those at the core of business processes to deliver results faster.

"The simple act of paying positive attention to people has a great deal to do with productivity" - Tom Peters

When you give the people all the tools and the flexibility to bring ideas to life, the organizational growth will be massive. End users can now build departmental, customized, and public applications using low-code/no-code platforms. The demand for products or services is growing. There are more interactions between the people (customers and citizen developers). It unites the IT and the business teams too.




The Project Management Institute (PMI) has developed the world’s first vendor-agnostic governance framework for citizen development (PMI Citizen DeveloperTM).

“PMI recognizes the critical role that citizen development plays in empowering individuals and organizations,” Mr. Prashara from PMI says. “As organizations look to leverage citizen development in their digital transformation programs, there are many pitfalls to avoid, including the lack of a comprehensive methodology and framework and adequate training to allow citizen developers to succeed. PMI is addressing this gap by providing a vendor-agnostic framework to support professionals’ need to learn the basics and best practices, but also organizations’ need to unlock the potential of citizen development in compliance with IT governance and security. This will give IT the confidence to scale citizen development across the enterprise to accelerate the organization’s transformation efforts.”

This framework includes a set of umbrella activities that are applicable across the entire Citizen Development process.


Your opinions and insights will be quite appreciated,  feel free to leave them here. 
Thank you.


Posted by Jelili Odunayo Kazeem on: February 01, 2021 02:09 AM | Permalink | Comments (9)

How Will Citizen Development Impact Leadership, Decision-Making and How Projects are Run? Part 2

Welcome to part 2 of my 3- part series on how citizen development is impacting projects and project management. Through the lens of citizen development, I am 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

If you missed part 1 you can read that here (

How Citizen Development Relates to the PM Face


  1. PROACTIVE: A project manager must be proactive. There are lots of issues that being proactive will help nip in the bud during a project lifecycle. A major stakeholder refuses to show up in a meeting may or not be a good sign. A project manager is expected to quickly rise to the occasion, communicate immediately, and regularize as expected on the stakeholders' matrix. The world is changing, a customer who gave a deadline for a requested product or service has a time-to-market to deal with. A proactive Citizen Developer Project Manager using low-code/no-code will deliver this type of product or service cheaper and in less time.


  1. RESPONSIBLE: A project manager is responsible for his/her project team and delivers a project on time, within the budget. He/She takes responsibility for whatever happens on the project in the entire project lifecycle and communicate accordingly to the respective stakeholders. Good project managers must maintain effective communication and keep the customer happy. He/She plays the lead role in planning, executing, monitoring, controlling, and closing projects. A Citizen Developer Project Manager should equally be responsible for saving cost and time for the customer.


  1. OBSERVANT: A Citizen Developer Project Manager should have an eagle eye. If you can’t see a problem, fixing it may be hectic. A project manager can fix problems easily before they turned a risk when he/she has a detailed mindful observation to know when things go off the rails. A project manager should be able to predict when a team member becomes angry, annoyed, tensed up, tired, motivated, excited, and respond faster to any of the stressful situations in the course of the project. Careful observation of a team member increases a project manager's ability to respond respectfully to their mood and emotions. A good project manager depends on this skill for time-critical communications so he/she is more likely to elicit the responses he/she needs from the sponsor, team members, and customers.


  1. JUST: A Citizen Developer Project Manager should be just in managing the project team. Everyone should get what he/she deserves as dictated by the requirements of the project. Effective communications help a project manager to manage this so he/she does not look biased. Sometimes, the requirements of the job will require some changes, a good project manager must effect these changes as requested by the customer and as approved by the governance board. Equally, a good project manager should not do whatever customers asked just because he/she wanted to look nice, he/she has to go through the change control process and effect the change accordingly.


  1. EXCELLENT: It takes a lot in search of excellence. A Citizen Developer Project Manager must show excellence while performing his/her duty. There are lots of skills that drive excellence in a project manager. These include but didn’t limit to Communication, Leadership, Organization, Negotiation, Team Management, Time Management, Risk Management, Problem-solving, Budget Management, Motivation, Technical writing, Adaptability, Technologically savvy, Reporting skills, Active listening, Research skills, Interpersonal skills, Project management methodologies, Policy Knowledge, and Conflict Management. A project manager with these skills will deliver better and stand tall among peers.


  1. COMMUNICATE: Communication is a key aspect of project management. Poor communication impact projects. Coordinating the project team, negotiating with the external stakeholders is critical efforts on a project, as such, without strong communication skills, a Citizen Developer Project Manager would find it difficult, to effectively manage their teams and coordinate efforts to successfully deliver the expected deliverables. Everything on any project revolves around communication, and a Citizen Developer Project Manager must master this skill to be efficient and effective. Most issues on the project come up because there is no thorough communication process in place, there is no way a project will become successful if there is no thorough understanding of the requirements. The project manager and the project team can determine the communications that are needed based on stakeholder analysis. The feedback system is another crucial part of the communication process, a good project manager will check with stakeholders and do the requirement analysis to ensure communications about the project meet their needs. Communication across cultural boundaries is equally a challenge in project communications. A good project manager must consider the best ways to communicate with others as required.


  1. TACTFUL: One of the most powerful skills in a Citizen Developer Project Manager’s arsenal is tact — and mastering it can make the difference between an effective outcome and a disaster. Being tactful is one of the important skills needed for managing difficult situations on a project. Good project managers must be tactful in dealing with situations, which makes them natural leaders. They look at the realities on the ground, adapt, and deal with the conflicts. They are fair in their judgment and keep the team moving. They don’t take advantage of the team members. They share all the information with their team to work together for the project’s success.


  1. MANAGE: Managing the project team is critical, it takes a lot to bring together people from diverse backgrounds to achieve as a team. A Citizen Developer Project Manager must be armed with the art of managing, coordinating resources, and directing project teams so that the components of work performed by each group accumulates into a multidisciplinary team effort that achieves the desired objectives on time and within budget. A good Project must master the art of management, apply the knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to the project team and activities to meet the project requirements.


  1. ABOVE BOARD: “Above board” first appeared in print, as far as is known, in the late 16th century, and the phrase originated in the world of gambling, in particular card games. To play “above board” was to keep your cards above the level of the playing table (as opposed to down in your lap) to avoid any suspicion of cheating. A Citizen Developer Project Manager must be completely honest and straightforward. When a company's business dealings are aboveboard, they act in an honorable, open manner. A project manager must be above board at all times to create products or services for customers.


  1. NICE: A Citizen Developer Project Manager must be Noble, Interesting, Compassionate, and Enjoyable. The daily encounter with people should create a wonderful lasting impression that would keep all the stakeholders satisfied if possible. At every stage of the project lifecycle, a project manager must keep a clean slate with the team members, indeed, he/she may not be able to satisfy everyone but effective communication will clear all the doubts that he/she has done his/her part.


  1. ATTENTIVE: Listening skills are another core competence a good project manager must-have. This would help in understanding the detailed requirements of the project at hand. A Citizen Developer Project Manager must be attentive and be willing to ask for further clarification to understand the requirements and deliver exactly what is required of him/her. This is clearly described in a paper presented as “The Resonant project manager” Attention to detail is a must for project managers. The result will not only bring recognition but equally reward for project managers.  


  1. GO-GETTER: A Citizen Developer Project Manager must be an enterprising, aggressive, persistent, consistent, perceptive, resourceful, dependable, and driven person, who is ambitious, energetic, not afraid to ask for or pursue what he/she wants to achieve his/her ambitions on the project. The bottom line of all he/she does is to ensure the project is successfully delivered, they are disciplined, put in all the required time each day to progress to achieve organizational goals and objectives. He/She would not allow failures to stop him/her, would document all the realities as lessons learned, learn from his/her mistakes, and armed himself/herself with it for future projects.


  1. EXCEPTIONAL: Managing a team takes a lot. It is a must you respect the people you work with. All projects consist of people working to produce a unique product or service. A Citizen Developer Project Manager should not impose over-bearing principles on the team. They will typically lose more than they gain. People process things at different rates and with different base understandings, constant communication helps in this regard. A project manager must equally know when to intercede, focus on the results to be achieved, and go all out to ensure the deliverables areas required.


  1. REVOLUTIONARY: A Citizen Developer Project Manager is revolutionary by nature. He/she is someone ready to add values to others, demands commitment, courage, and sacrifice from the team members, and constantly growing, even if they are already doing well. He/She is transformational, charismatic, willing to reform, clear on the organizational mission and vision and he gets smart about achieving results.


Citizen development is the new revolution for rapid organizational development, PMI has already developed a Governance Launchpad Framework and the low-code/no-code platform is readily available to explore. I am poised and glad to be part of this revolution in organizational development that will equally develop the people.


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


Posted by Jelili Odunayo Kazeem on: January 21, 2021 06:19 PM | Permalink | Comments (9)

An Introduction to Hyper-Agile SDLC

Welcome to the world of citizen development.

Amazing things happen here in the world of citizen development. If you’ve been in it a while, you already know how incredible it is to watch an idea go from spark to screen in days or even hours. If you’re new to citizen development, get ready for a fascinating new reality.

This post is part of a series that will introduce you to elements on the PMI CD Canvas (see graphic below). These posts are designed to inspire you, share tips and insight, and further your knowledge and experience. I welcome your questions and encourage you to share your own stories.

I am glad you’re here. Let’s begin.

PMI CD Canvas - Hyper-Agile SDLC


An Introduction to Hyper-Agile SDLC

As citizen developers, we inevitably interact with IT. In my early days of low-code app creation (before I even knew the term “citizen developer”) I encountered resistance from our IT department. They were leery of the process, tools, and security. The resistance eased when I took the time to learn the basic framework of their process so I could do a better job of explaining the one I was proposing.

With your success in mind, I offer you two terms to learn and one case story to consider. 

Term #1: SDLC

Its full name is Software Development Life Cycle. SDLC is a familiar term in the IT world and represents the six-stage process they use to plan, create, test, and deploy an information system. Each stage can take considerable time to complete. The SDLC process is as follows:

1.           Requirement analysis

2.           Design

3.           Development and testing

4.           Implementation

5.           Documentation

6.           Evaluation

IT professionals pretty much live by this process. It’s proven, reliable, and connects all the dots in a way they have come to trust.

Term #2: Hyper-agile SDLC

This is the hyper-agile version of the Software Development Life Cycle. Same processes and same stages, but faster, leaner, and more agile. It is “an end-to-end process for developing and delivering applications by citizen developers using no-code/low-code tools,” per CDBOK.

Case Story: Hyper-Agile SDLC In Action

Situation: A marketing company was planning an in-person VIP event to launch a new product and needed a tool to enable teams to schedule and host private meetings. The existing process was cumbersome, and they wanted to replace it with a no-code app to automate scheduling, improve team communication, and capture critical data in real-time. Key stakeholders included the meeting concierge, room hosts, meeting hosts, and event meeting planners.

Before: In prior events, the planners used an Excel spreadsheet to track and organize all of the meetings. Outlook was used for meeting invites. Confirmation emails containing specific meeting details along with the full spreadsheet showing the next day’s schedule was shared with stakeholders once a day. This caused extra work for stakeholders who had to sort through all of the data to find which events pertained to them. Cutting and pasting sections of the spreadsheet became the norm in an effort to make the information accessible and viewable. The process was not mobile-friendly, and valuable event metrics were difficult to track and gather.

After: With the help of an in-house citizen developer using hyper-agile SDLC, a no-code app was built and deployed in four days. This included gathering requirements, design, basic IT testing, workflow creation, and user training. The hyper-agile SDLC build was possible due to (1) a highly engaged team who communicated clear requirements and workflows, and (2) a no-code platform that enabled the citizen developer to organize, design, and create a live app for the team to use. This platform was intuitive and user-friendly making training much quicker.

The team built the app that efficiently managed all facets of the VIP customer meetings, plus these features:

●           A mobile responsive design

●           Overall view of room availability and configuration

●           Quick search and simplified meeting request form

●           Automated booking email confirmations and notifications

●           Current and accessible master meeting calendar

●           Automatic update notifications to specific team members

●           A notes, comments, and completion confirmation section for room hosts

●           Real-time meeting metrics for the meeting planners to track how many meetings were occurring, for how long, and who was hosting

Customized dashboards were also created so each user type could view data that was relevant to them and their roles. This eliminated the need for any cutting and pasting of data and the meeting planners no longer had to wait until the end of the event to gather the event metrics.

The app was a huge win for the entire team and demonstrates how hyper-agile SDLC can be used to create a solution for a process that was full of manual input, wasted time and money, and prone to human error.

Applying Hyper-Agile SDLC In Your Organisation

If you are looking to implement hyper-agile SDLC for the first time in your company, I recommend you select a workflow that is relatively simple but provides a good win for the team. 

Here are a few other tips:

●           Look for a workflow that involves multiple manual steps that get repeated over and over again

●           Get a good understanding of the actual workflow, the challenges, and the stakeholders

●           Identify three basic requirements to fulfill with the new app and begin the design using the selected no-code/low-code platform.

Begin with a simple and minimally-disruptive workflow so the stakeholders can see the positive impact and engage with the process. This will go a long way in setting the stage for quicker adoption of future, more complex apps.

What did this post spark in you? Are you new to Hyper-Agile SDLC? Have you used it in your company? Please post your questions, comments, and stories below.

Posted by Jody Temple White on: December 16, 2020 11:07 AM | Permalink | Comments (16)

What Is a Citizen Developer?

A citizen developer is someone who can build applications without coding knowledge, but usually with the support of IT. They tend to be domain experts who have a deep understanding of a business process or a series of tasks performed in the organization. They are therefore very well placed to identify new opportunities that improve operational efficiency or allow the business to better serve its customers.

As PMI embarks on an exciting new journey to help you harness the power of citizen development, we here at are launching new content on our Citizen Developer topic page and through this brand new blog!

I wanted to share the following information from the the PMI Citizen Development Body of Knowledge (CDBOK™) to help introduce you to this exciting new revolution

Who Can Be a Citizen Developer?
Citizen developers come from all walks of life. They could be sales executives who feel they can spend much more time with their customers if the administrative tools were easier to use. Or they could be payroll administrators who want to reduce the number of manual steps and interactions with the employees when approving expenses.

They could also be externally hired consultants who have been brought in to support the organization in its digital transformation. A key common aspect is that citizen developers are people who are willing to make the change, to create the solutions that they, their team, their department or their customers need.

The Emergence of Shadow IT
Citizen developers have been around for some time. In the past, they were the people who made a difference by building macros in spreadsheets using Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) or who identified ways to improve their work and the work of others. Arguably, from an IT perspective, these people caused all sorts of problems. They introduced risky, unsupported, and often poorly designed applications that lacked any standard or control.

In doing so, they created operational risk, key-person dependency, and fueled the creation of what has come to be known as “shadow IT” (an unsupported and unsanctioned IT).

In our rapidly changing business and technology landscape, organizations must constantly evolve to maintain relevance. IT departments are tasked with the responsibility of delivering business change; however, with the increasing demand for software and training, IT departments have limited ability to cope with this ever-expanding backlog of wants and needs.

Approximately 79% of IT leaders and decision makers agree that they are under a constant source of pressure to manage this (Project Management Institute, 2020), while being able to “keep the lights on” and ensure the existing IT estate continues to function alongside the higher demand.

IT also has to deal with limited budgets in addition to increasingly scarce and in-demand skilled technical specialists. One consequence of this inability to deliver is the emergence and growing reliance of shadow IT, which is the result of business owners and stakeholders reaching for other options to address their challenges rather than waiting for IT to address them.

Many see shadow IT as a threat (95% of IT decision makers recognize the risks associated with shadow IT, 43% worry about the lack of data governance, and 37% agree that a major source of risk is the inherent lack of ownership and change control). Despite the risk, shadow IT does bring value to the organization. First and foremost, shadow IT is a solution for an unaddressed need. This need could be a more efficient way of working with technology, a better employee or customer experience, or even a new customer offering.

The New Breed of Citizen Development Platforms
Until recently, employees didn’t have the tools or the capacity, and IT may not have had the capacity to support or address their needs in a significant way. Today, that situation has changed. Citizen development platforms have matured to the point that they minimize the need for manual coding when building serious, enterprise-grade applications. They are much more accessible to those without formal or lifelong technical learning and training. As a result, their usage (both IT sanctioned and unsanctioned) is exploding.

According to Gartner, “By 2024 at least 65% of all new business applications will be created with high-productivity toolsets, such as low-code and no-code application development platforms.” (Vincent, Natis, Iijima, Wong, Ray, Jain, & Leow, 2020).

By 2023, the number of active citizen developers at large enterprises will be at least 4 times the number of professional developers (Wong, Driver, & Ray, 2019).

Enabling Digital Transformation
Organizations are beginning to see the citizen developer as a key enabler of digital transformations. Inside organizations, citizen developers can use these new platforms to solve problems they repeatedly run into. They are no longer limited by the lack of coding capability and no longer have to wait for IT to provide resources.

Many business problems can now be quickly ideated into solutions and put through a development process to create applications that bring immense value to organizations. Other problems that may require IT support for extensive changes, such as complex integrations, can still be rapidly built by the citizen developer into a minimum viable product (MVP) that can then be handed over to the technical team to be completed. Citizen developers can unleash innovation and productivity gains unlike any recent developments in application development.

In order to experience these productivity gains, however, citizen developers need to be given the authority and freedom to act. This requires new ways of working and new ways of thinking at an organizational level. IT departments are guardians of the organization and provide a vital service that protects the organization from harmful events, such as external hacking or service availability.

IT departments also have another important role to play in support of citizen development: They can guide and help citizen developers to design applications by giving guidance on technical requirements and supporting publish-worthy applications. This is a particularly important part of unleashing the value of citizen development applications as their usage scales in the organization.

In summary, IT departments will need to become accustomed to working with the business instead of for the business, becoming a key partner to the business on its citizen development journey. When working with IT as a partner, citizen developers can help reduce the technology backlog while executing digital transformations at speed.

To learn more about how to join the Citizen Revolution, read how PMI can help you!

Posted by Cameron McGaughy on: November 30, 2020 04:38 PM | Permalink | Comments (7)

"The golden rule is that there are no golden rules."

- George Bernard Shaw