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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
Jason Mayall
Ryan Whitmore
Justin Sears
Chandrasekaran Audivaragan
Jelili Odunayo Kazeem
Kimberly Whitby
Vivek Goel
Derya Sousa
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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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.

 

  1. PRODUCTS

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 (https://www.salesforce.com/blog/gartner-lcap/).

Forrester forecasts that the low-code market would top $21 billion spendings 2022 (https://go.forrester.com/blogs/why-you-need-to-know-about-low-code-even-if-youre-not-responsible-for-software-delivery/).

 

 

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.

 

      2. PROMPTNESS

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.

 

 

        4. PROCESS FRAMEWORK

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 3

Welcome to part 3 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 related 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 parts 1 and 2 you can read them here and here.

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

https://www.projectmanagement.com/blog-post/67946/How-Will-Citizen-Development-Impact-Leadership--Decision-Making-and-How-Projects-are-Run--Part-2

 

How Citizen Development Can Impact Decision Making

 

At the core of Citizen Development lies decision-making about projects and programs that must align with organizational strategic objectives, the readiness of the decision-makers, the underlying factor of Return on Investment (ROI), and the uncertainties of citizen development, but one factor that keeps citizen development ahead is the speed of delivery of products or services in less time.

 

Lots of programs have failed even though time and a huge amount of funds were spent to deliver the benefits. Sometimes, products become obsolete at roll-out. The recent Covid-19 saga has shown the world that one has to respond faster to contain it. Real-time development and deployment of products or services is key to citizen development.

 

In my training as a Software Tester, one must not wait to find all the defects for a product to go live, some defects will pop up when the product goes live in different environments. Feedbacks will eventually help in fine-tuning the flexibilities required when the product is live and in use.

 

 

It is great to know citizen development is already launched on an existing low-code/no-code (LCNC) platform. The usage of LCNC is on the increase and the platform will get better as it progresses. The world is changing, the need for building applications will grow higher and the world will not find a better way to deliver products or services than to leverage on a low-code/no-code platform to deliver applications cheaper and in less time.

 

Applications will be launched faster with a higher Return on investment (ROI). This will not be negotiable for CEOs who always go for profit maximization. The low-code/no-code market will be huge in the nearest years.

 

This boom will reshape organizational development in my opinion. This is because it will create more opportunities for both the organization and the employees. Ideas can be brought to life in no time, and organizational growth will be rapid.

 

The strength of every organization is the people (employee), the fear of investing lots of resources on the employee ideas will be gone with a low code/no-code platform and ideas can be brought to life faster and cheaper.

 

The growth will be unstoppable with a low code/no-code platform.

 

 

Posted by Jelili Odunayo Kazeem on: January 27, 2021 02:54 PM | Permalink | Comments (10)

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)

How Will Citizen Development Impact Leadership, Decision-Making and How Projects are Run? Part 1

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

How Citizen Development Relates to Leadership

People see leadership differently. To some, it means listening to your followers and make everyone happy, and to others, you have to take that strategic decision which in turn could mean saying ‘NO’ to certain quarters and ensure alignment to the strategic objectives of the organization. No doubt, becoming a good project manager does not end with just project management skills.

 

Leadership theories work, but sometimes situations in the organization are different. This leaves a leader to his fate to swim through the twists and turns of the rapidly changing environment.

 

A leader must set the path right for the organization and must do all that is required of him to grow the organization. Now, let us examine who is a good leader or the must-have leadership qualities of project managers.

Every Project Manager should wear a leadership face and drive the project team to achieve the expected deliverables. Listed below are qualities that make a project manager a leader.

 

  1. LEAD: A good project manager must be able to lead his/her team to achieve the agreed deliverables. If a Project is a temporary endeavor to create something new or to deliver a service, then a project manager's job is to ensure he or she leads the project team to achieve success with the approved budget. Leading citizen development in the organization will not only grow the leader but also the project team will equally grow.  

 

  1. ETHICAL: Every system has its ethics. These are the rules and standards guiding the system. PMI has ethics guiding the professional conduct of members. So, a project manager should equally be conversant with the ethics, moral standards, and culture of his/her project, the people, and the environment. Understanding ethics will help in the effective delivery of projects. No doubt, the citizen development framework developed by PMI will help in a great deal to Launchpad citizen development in any organization.

 

  1. ADAPT: Project Management practice is evolving, so a project manager must be able to adjust to new conditions, learn new skills using the PMI Talent Triangle as a guide, and make himself/herself suitable for a new use or purpose as he/she delivers a project. No doubt, the more he/she knows, the easier for him/her to switch to a new purpose as required by the job. The citizen development framework will help in the adaptability of easily managing and delivering projects faster.

 

  1. DISCIPLINED: A project manager must be disciplined. Lots of highly demanding challenges would come while on the job, these could alter the lifecycle of the project and make Estimation at Completion (EAC) shoot beyond budget. It is important to follow all the Change Control processes as guided by the governance structure in place. No project manager should be reminded that he/she should not receive a gifted bribe and returned all the unspent funds to the company after closure and signed-off of a project. With a citizen development framework and low-code/no-code platform, there would be fewer funds to throw around and services will be delivered cheaper.

 

  1. EVOLVING: The world is evolving, and so a project manager must evolve with the practice. Long before now, most project managers are comfortable with waterfall methodologies, having projects divided into phases but Agile dropped in new flexibilities with an iterative and incremental approach to deliver projects using sprints. PMI found it important to match these methods together, developed the frameworks for Citizens Development (Citizens DeveloperTM), and open its doors for whatever would make Project Management practice better.

 

  1. RESPONSIBLE: A project manager is fully responsible and accountable for what happens in the project lifecycle. He/She leads and coordinates the project team, plan project activities, manage project priorities, execute and control the project, manage the change control systems, drives decision-making, promotes stakeholders involvement, communicate project status and manage the budget. A project manager must be responsible for the outcomes of a project.

 

  1. SMART: For effective delivery, every project manager must work with SMART criteria to attain the goals and project objectives. These SMART criteria are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Therefore, when planning a project's objectives, each one should be:

 

  • Specific: The goal should target a specific area of improvement or answer a specific need.
  • Measurable: The goal must be quantifiable, or at least allow for measurable progress.
  • Attainable: The goal should be realistic, based on available resources and existing constraints.
  • Relevant: The goal should align with organizational objectives to be considered worthwhile.
  • Time-bound: The goal must have a deadline or a defined end.

 

  1. HONEST: Honesty is another leadership quality that a project manager must possess. Project managers must report the realities of the project, but there must not be room for any cover-ups at all. A project manager should not shy away from projecting the true pictures of the project. These stories are eventually documented as lessons learned and become a source to effectively manage other projects of the same category. Another good advantage of these documented stories is that it gives room for thorough analysis and deliberations which would be helpful to mitigate risks in future projects.

 

  1. IMPARTIAL: A project manager should not be partial in managing the project team. Everyone should get what he/she deserves as dictated by the requirements of the project. Being open and effective communications help a project manager to manage this so he/she does not look biased. Sometimes, based on the requirements equipment will be approved to a functional head while others who made an earlier request for the same equipment feel neglected but proper feedback will help redirect activities to ensure no time lag and effective delivery.

 

  1. PROGRESSIVE: A project manager should be progressive by nature. A project manager involves in continuous improvement and detailing a plan as more detailed and specific information and more accurate estimates become available. Through progressive elaboration, a project management team define work and manage it to a greater level of detail as the project evolves. In Agile, the team utilizes iterative and incremental development to manage backlogs through planning, execution, review, and retrospect. The generic project lifecycle is in phases; this includes conception and initiation, planning, execution, performance/monitoring, and project close. A project manager progresses in these five (5) phases to deliver project outcomes. With citizen development, these stages are streamlined and delivery is faster.

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

 

 

 

Posted by Jelili Odunayo Kazeem on: January 14, 2021 02:48 PM | Permalink | Comments (19)
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