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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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Engaging Stakeholders: A critical element to enterprise risk requirements

This post is the fourth in a series introducing you to elements on the PMI Citizen Development Canvas (see image 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 Business Analysis and Design. In this post, I will introduce you to Enterprise Risk Requirements. 

PMI CD Canvas - Enterprise Risk Requirements

Enterprise Risk Requirements is the component in the PMI Citizen Development Canvas that refers to functional and non-functional requirements within citizen development projects. It is also the area where the Citizen Developer identifies and manages other inherent project risks including stakeholder and communication risks. 

 

In this blog, I am going to focus on stakeholder risk and the importance of identifying, engaging, and communicating with them to improve the success rate of your project. 

 

Stakeholders - who are they and what role do they play?

 

A stakeholder is a person, group, or organization that has an interest in, or will be affected by, the application being developed. Stakeholders play a key role in the citizen development process. They help the Citizen Developer capture requirements and they provide valuable feedback. Stakeholders can be huge champions, or they can stop a project in its track.

 

Understanding who the stakeholders are, their influence, and how they perceive the project is critical, so one of the first steps in mitigating stakeholder risk is to create a stakeholder directory. 

 

Stakeholder Directories

Stakeholder directories come in all shapes and sizes, but in general, the directory lists the stakeholders, their roles, their influence, and their level of support for the project. This directory is used by the Citizen Developer and squad as a reference tool as they engage with the stakeholders throughout the project. 

 

Stakeholder Engagement Plan

In the course of creating the stakeholder directory, Citizen Developers will also be creating a stakeholder engagement plan. This will encompass how hands-on the stakeholders will be in the project, how and when they will receive status updates, and their expectations. Some stakeholders will be heavily involved in the build and by engaging them early on, it will encourage collaboration and feedback, create a stronger solution, and help reduce the potential for miscommunication. 

 

Capturing Requirements from Stakeholders.

Now that the stakeholders have been identified and an engagement plan has been created, stakeholder requirements can be gathered. Stakeholders help to identify app requirements and why they’re important. These requirements are typically functional requirements pertaining to the user experience or workflows. The requirement list provides direction and focus throughout the app development and it also acts as a checklist to make sure that the requirements have been met.

 

In my past blogs, I have shared situations where an app was created and the problem solved and they lived happily ever after, but the following situation is about a missed opportunity and a lesson learned.

 

What happens when a stakeholder stops it all.

 

Situation: A fast-growing urban non-profit was sinking in a swamp of details they couldn’t manage anymore. The organization was led by a small executive team and run by volunteers.  There were four lines of service, each led by a volunteer.

 

Before: The quality of service and communication was showing signs of stress. Volunteers were working extra hours to keep up with inefficient methods.

 

Process: A Citizen Developer who was familiar with the organization saw the situation and believed an app could solve the chaos and help scale the organization efficiently. He presented the idea of a low-code/no-code (LCNC) app to the executive team (Enterprise Stakeholders). They liked the idea of an app and introduced the Citizen Developer to the volunteer leaders of the four lines of service. He met with each one to demonstrate a prototype and to discuss how the app could save them time and improve their service.

 

Three of the four volunteer leaders saw the app as a solution, but the fourth felt the expense was unnecessary. She was happy to work the extra hours to save money. She would not budge from her position and even though the executive team felt the expense was worth the saving, they bent to her wishes.

 

After: The Citizen Developer dropped the project. The organization and its volunteers continued to struggle and count on volunteer overtime to succeed.

 

Missed opportunity and lesson learned:

While the non-profit was still in its infancy and developing its structure, it had an opportunity to quickly and cost-effectively solve an operational issue that was only going to get worse. The organizational structure had no real leader which made it difficult when the solution was presented. They missed a huge opportunity. 

 

The Citizen Developer learned a valuable lesson. He skipped a few steps and dove right into solving the problem before fully understanding the stakeholders, their roles, and their influence. Had he spent a little more time engaging the stakeholders and listening to their concerns and pain points, he may have been able to alleviate the cost concerns with the resistant stakeholder. This was a valuable lesson to learn.

 

Some tips from my experience:

  1. Identify the stakeholders quickly and engage them as soon as you can.
  2. Communicate with stakeholders. Find out what their expectations and requirements are.
  3. Listen and ask questions. Find out the stakeholder's pain points, needs, and perspective, not just about the solution, but the project in general. 

 

Stakeholders are crucial to the build and the ongoing success of the project. If the stakeholders aren’t supportive, you’re in for a steep climb that may not be worth the risk.

 

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: April 16, 2021 01:33 PM | Permalink | Comments (7)

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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