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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
Vivek Goel
Derya Sousa
Ryan Whitmore
Justin Sears
Raveesh Dewan
Dalibor Ninkovic
Ian Gosling
Chandrasekaran Audivaragan
Kimberly Whitby
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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Business Analysis and Design - Why is this important in Citizen Development?

Welcome to the world of citizen development.

Hello. I am glad you’re here.

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 record time, sometimes in days or even hours. If you’re new to citizen development, get ready for a fascinating new reality.

This post is the fourth in a series, introducing you to elements on the PMI Citizen Development Canvas (see the 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.

In the last post, I introduced you to the Suitability Assessment: Suitability Assessments- what are they and why are they important. In this post, I will introduce you to Business Analysis and Design.

PMI CD Canvas - Business Analysis and Design

You can learn more about the Citizen Development Canvas and its various components in the book Citizen Development: The Handbook for Creators and Change Makers.

  

                                                            

Business Analysis and Design - what it is and why it is important

Business Analysis and Design gives you, the Citizen Developer, a crucial understanding of how potential applications will work within an organization.

With this understanding in mind, you can develop applications that are less likely to interfere with other parts of the organization. Insight into the broader impact of citizen development will also increase the likelihood of building an application that attracts organization-wide buy-in and wider adoption.

This involves the identification of stakeholders across all departments who are currently involved in the workflow and asking them relevant questions. It also involves reviewing documentation, understanding departmental dependencies, and gathering currently used documents, forms, and spreadsheets.

In some cases, processes have never been officially documented, they’ve just been handed down. In other instances, your questions and discoveries may reveal glitches or possibilities that were previously unknown.

When your app shifts the way something is done in one department, other departments can be affected, too, like it or not. Consider this ripple effect. You want your end-users to adopt the solution, so take the time to ask the right questions and gather the information you need to really understand the way work is done, by whom, and when. Giving thoughtful consideration to the wider impact of the proposed solution is at the heart of Business Analysis and Design.

Common questions in this process include:

  • What are the current workflows?
  • What systems (technology or otherwise) are currently used in the workflow/process?
  • How has this workflow been managed in the past?
  • What actions are being taken and by whom?
  • Who and what will be impacted by this proposed solution?
  • What are the relationships or dependencies between departments?
  • Who is involved in the current workflow/process?
  • What documents are being used or generated?

The answers to these questions will give you insight into the ripple effect your app will have throughout the organization. By analyzing all this information, you are better equipped to design an app that caters to the organization’s needs. 

 

Let’s take a look at how one company used Business Analysis and Design and the results.

Situation: A design company wanted to create an app to support and upgrade their workflow process as it pertained to ordering, proofing, and tracking signage for its clients.

The company offered full design services for onsite events. The internal departments involved were creative services, customer success managers, event managers, shipping and delivery, onsite production, and accounting.

The Citizen Developer had already gathered information on goals and pain points but realized some critical information was missing. She wanted an even deeper understanding of what each department needed and what “workarounds” had been created to meet those needs. To gain that understanding, she began by asking questions to relevant stakeholders and gathering documentation.

 

Before: The Citizen Developer quickly learned that the files being created and managed were large with many tabs, all containing complicated formulas and instructions. The team members were consistently modifying the spreadsheets to meet their needs and then copying and pasting data between the original and their version. This resulted in broken formulas, inaccurate data, and missing information. In addition, documents were being shared without adequate security protocols, requests, update tracking was inconsistent, and the teams spent enormous amounts of time verifying all the data and tracking the versions.

 

Process: The Citizen Developer collected what was considered the “original” spreadsheet template, plus many of the “modified” versions created by the different departments. Sample project timelines, forms for submitting signage requests, email and document templates (both internal and external), checklists, image samples, task lists, and various types of reports were also gathered during this process.

 

By collecting these documents, the Citizen Developer:

  • Identified additional data points to include in the app
  • Gained further perspective of user types and their needs
  • Clarified proofing and approval process
  • Revealed data security issues
  • Clarified cross-functional workflows and dependencies
  • Revealed shadow IT systems
  • Uncovered outdated processes and workflows
  • Identified additional stakeholders

 

After: As a result of this analysis, the Citizen Developer was able to design a user-friendly signage management app that exceeded the expectations and requests of the team. It became the single source of truth for all stakeholders, provided the change-tracking that was needed, and offered the appropriate user views and security. The app improved the accuracy and consistency of data entry, was mobile-friendly, and provided real-time updates. It was an end-to-end solution that was quickly adopted by all teams because the Citizen Developer took the time to listen, explore, and implement based on the findings.

 

Business Analysis and Design Tips:

As a Citizen Developer, I rely on the Business Analysis and Design process to discover how workflows are really working and what the team needs to do their job. This process also minimizes misunderstandings and builds user adoption.

 

Some tips from my experience:

  • More information is better because you can always rule out what’s unnecessary. If this is a brand new process, there may not be much documentation.
  • As the Citizen Developer, you will get to flush it out. Lean on the relevant stakeholders to get you what you need.
  • Talk to as many people who are involved in the process as possible.
  • Gather historical data to see what’s been tried in the past.

 

Business Analysis and Design can provide huge insights for the Citizen Developer and will prove extremely helpful when building the app.

 

What did this post spark in you? Are you new to no-code/low-code app creation? Have you used a suitability assessment in your company? Please post your questions, comments, and stories below.

 

Want to learn more? Grab your copy of the newly released book Citizen Development: The Handbook for Creators and Change Makers.

Posted by Jody Temple White on: March 15, 2021 05:41 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

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 ( http://www.projectmanagement.com/blog-post/67865/How-Will-Citizen-Development-Impact-Leadership--Decision-Making-and-How-Projects-are-Run--Part-1

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” https://www.pmi.org/learning/library/resonant-project-manager-9656. 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)
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