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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.

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Cameron McGaughy
Ron Immink
Jody Temple White
Mario Trentim
Jelili Odunayo Kazeem
Jason Mayall
Chandrasekaran Audivaragan
Ryan Whitmore
Kimberly Whitby
Justin Sears
Derya Sousa
Vivek Goel
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 

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

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 PMI.org, 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 ProjectManagement.com and revisit The Project Economy website at PMI.org. 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)

Low-Code or No-Code....What's the difference?

Have you been wondering what the difference is between Low-Code and No-Code is? Read our quick primer to learn about these key terms in citizen development.

In a recent interview between Sunil Prashara, President and CEO of PMI, and Praveen Seshadri, founder of AppSheet, Praveen drew a comparison between building software and driving a car.

In the early days, driving a car was a very involved affair.  Features we take for granted today simply didn’t exist; the automatic starter was not standard equipment in cars for many years. You had to physically crank the engine. You didn’t have a gear box or stick shift. There was no speedometer, water pressure or fuel gauge.  Driving a car was clumsy and hard.

In a similar way, early software engineering was tedious, painstaking and required a great deal of knowledge. The software pioneers had to be competent in many domains – being able to write instructions the computer could understand, how to write programmes to memory, how and where to store the data. All of this required the flicking of switches and the loading of punch cards or magnetic film in precise orders, making even small mistakes very costly.

Most people will agree that driving a modern car today no longer requires experience akin to having a doctorate in mechanical engineering. Similarly, software engineering has evolved such that it is no longer the exclusive domain of the dedicated IT professional.  In both these cases, over time, the relentless drive to make things easier, faster and more user friendly has meant that today pretty much anyone can drive a car, or build an application.

Chances are you are already familiar with the terms low-code and no-code application development platforms.  Essentially, they are what they say on the tin; low-code platforms started to make an appearance around three decades ago. Many of them born out of software houses’ desire to minimise repetitive, tedious very error prone tasks that are common when coding.  No-code platforms are a natural evolution of low-code, with the ambition being total obfuscation of the complexities of code.

 

Low-Code

Low-code platforms can be defined as tools that let you build software applications with a minimal amount of coding. Software developers can leverage pre-fabricated “blocks of code” to rapidly create applications.

Rather than focusing their efforts on hand-coding the application end-to-end, they these pre-fab code blocks to construct the application, and then use code for fine-tuning where and when desired.

In the strictest sense, low-code platforms require some level of coding knowledge, and this makes sense given that the target market, by and large, has been the existing IT department and software houses – these tools were designed to speed up what they were already doing, rather than trying to make software development more accessible to non-IT folk.  That said, some low-code platforms do also appeal to the non-coder and indeed are being used by them to great effect, for example in building MVPs which could then be handed over to the IT team to finish off and publish.

Low-code is markedly faster than hand-coding, and as a result projects are cheaper. Many prominent platform vendors feature use cases demonstrating 10x faster project delivery times compared to hand-coding approaches. This is one reason that Gartner estimates that the low-code market will be responsible for more than 65% of applications by 2024.

No-Code

While conceptually similar, no-code platforms go a step further and attempt to completely eliminate the need to write even a line a of code when creating an application. Boasting clean, intuitive graphical interfaces with point-and-click and drag-and-drop mechanics, no-code platforms are designed to be approachable to those outside the IT department. This is one of the fundamental drivers behind the growing global interest in the Citizen Development movement.

Users of no-code platforms have demonstrated orders-of-magnitude faster delivery times when compared to hand-coding and even low-code.  Application development projects that would ordinarily take months to simply mobilise, can now be delivered in a few days by a trained user of a no-code platform.

It is important to note that no-code platforms are not inherently better than low-code platforms. For the increase in speed, there is a reduction in control. Indeed, many organizations prefer their existing low-code platforms, given they are likely less locked-down and offer a greater level of flexibility and control.  There are numerous instances of core systems and highly complex applications that have been built using low-code platforms, but notably fewer examples on no-code platforms. 

It is also worth stating that low-code and no-code are sometimes used interchangeably and some platforms can justifiably be viewed as having both low-code and no-code characteristics (and catering to both the IT department and the non-IT business user at the same time). There are numerous no-code vendors out there that allow users to code, for example.

 

Conclusion

Low-code and no-code platforms have demonstrated incredible return on investment for those organizations that have taken the plunge.

  • Speed of build – Both low-code and no-code greatly accelerate the development process. Low-code can make the process 10x faster. No-code doubles this, and then some.

  • Less resource demand – Forrester estimates that there will be a deficit of 500,000 developers by 2024 in the US alone. With minimal understanding of programming required for low-code and no understanding of programming required by no-code, the typical business user can step in to fill this gap.

  • Rapid deployment – Time from build to deployment is significant reduced. Low-code and no-code are optimized for quicker decision making and lighter project governance. E.g. change requests applied in real-time, rather than being scheduled for periodic release cycles. It transforms how software is developed and reshapes how development teams are assembled and operate, with business resources taking the lead and minimal IT approvals required.

Posted by Arjun Jamnadass on: January 08, 2021 01:11 PM | Permalink | Comments (9)

Why Citizen Developers?

Citizen development is a life skill and mindset. It means a cultural change to embrace technology as an extension of human capabilities. Unfortunately, there is resistance and fear because people see citizen development through the lens of scarcity.

 

Instead of asking, "how can I leverage citizen development to create even more personal and organizational competitive advantage?" people think, "what will I do when my job disappears?".

 

The Digital Transformation Fallacy

Digital transformation is a buzzword since the 2010s. Around 2008, the "cloud" became popular, although, in 2020, most organizations and people still do not use the full potential of cloud-native applications. Why?

The Technology Fallacy book, published in 2020, is based on insights from a multi-year collaborative study between MIT Sloan Management Review and Delloite. The research says that digital maturity is about people and organizational change.

Technology is here for a while: machine learning, artificial intelligence, the internet of things, and more. It is not used on a large scale because the majority of people do not understand it. The agile and digital-savvy mindset needed to allow organizations to embrace technology and pivot as required is scarce.

Organizational transformation enables the organization to become more customer-centric, data-driven, and adaptable.

 

Citizen Development is More than Low-Code

Citizen development maturity is your company's process of learning how to respond appropriately to the emerging competitive environment from a broader perspective that includes technology, but it is not limited to that.

Every professional must develop a working knowledge of digital and technology trends to lead their organizations to adapt in the right ways. In other words, citizen development becomes a life skill required at every level.

You don't have to learn how to code and build applications. You have to understand how new technologies make it possible to create different organizational structures, disruptive business models, and innovative work methods and processes.

 

What's Next

To conclude this article, I wanted to emphasize that technology is already available. You are connected to digital assistants on your mobile phone; artificial intelligence helps me write this article with Word Online, and there is much more. These and other technologies won't replace you. But they will make your current job obsolete. To stay relevant, you have to understand the new game of citizen development.

 

Join the conversation about Citizen Development! Please leave your comments below.

 

Posted by Mario Trentim on: December 11, 2020 08:13 AM | Permalink | Comments (6)
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