How Citizen Development Will Disrupt Project Management?

Project Managers play a key role in the entire project management lifecycle. They are closely involved in all stages which include conception and initiation, planning, launching and executing the project, while ensuring they are completed on time, on budget, within the scope and with quality. Citizen Development, a rapidly growing enterprise trend, promises to boost project managers’ productivity and efficiency by making application development faster and less expensive.

1. What is Citizen Development?

For decades, application development has been living in the wheelhouse of professional IT developers. Taking into consideration the increasingly competitive business demands, the only way for enterprises to remain viable is by increasing business capacity and accelerating the speed of delivery without increasing costs.

Given that the current business landscape is constantly evolving, moving forward will require a new set of tools that can effectively solve the digitalization challenge that organizations have had for years. To fill that gap, Citizen Development, abbreviated as CD, paves the way for non-technical business users, also known as Citizen Developers, to visually build enterprise applications in a modern, flexible and easy-to-use environment, with the use of IT-sanctioned low-code/no-code (LCNC) platforms. Project Management Institute (PMI) defines Citizen Developers as someone who can build applications without coding knowledge, but usually with the support of IT.

As Citizen Development becomes the next big thing in the changing landscape, it will undoubtedly boost workflow efficiency to enable enterprises to deliver more at a lower cost.

Embracing the Citizen Development Movement

According to Project Management Institute (PMI), Citizen Development will be the disruptor of this new norm and numerous low-code/no-code platforms are already showcasing that with their customers and partners. In real-world usage, LCNC is proving its capability to reduce the complexity of application development significantly faster at a fraction of the cost. To date, many organizations have started to embrace Citizen Development in their operations to stimulate rapid change and establish a unique footprint in the communities that can benefit productivity at large. Especially in today’s digital realm, low-code/no-code plays a key role in helping businesses to capitalize on the infinite potential that this new digital space offers and spark innovation with great ease.

And that leads to the next question. If non-technical business users are stepping out to play a significant part in application development, how does this affect IT?

The Citizen Developers-IT Professionals Alliance

As low-code/no-code shifts the trends of application development, putting problem-solving in the hands of Citizen Developers who understand the business challenges best allows the business side of an organization to flourish and scale without the need for extensive IT resources. Projects with relatively lower risks will dazzle as they fall into the hands of Citizen Developers, who will relieve the IT team of their heavy burden.

IT professionals, who now have a reduced backlog to handle, will be able to functionally stay focused on their core competencies with high-level, complex, and venturesome projects that employ their domain knowledge and technical skills.

2. A Magic Ingredient for Project Managers: Citizen Development

The Project Manager, along with the sponsors and/or initiators, helps the project management team understand the business value and the expected role of each party. Establishing mutual understanding and cooperation within the team, the Project Manager is best placed to oversee and identify any potential obstacles that might hinder the project from moving forward, given that they have been actively involved in the ongoing processes of initiation, planning, execution and monitoring since the project’s inception.

Very often, these roadblocks will have a significant impact on the project lifecycle, resulting in enormous time delays, cost overruns and even project failures. To avoid compounding the problems as they occur, Citizen Development is the remedy to flipping the table around and striking a balance between the triple constraints, or the project management’s iron triangle, namely time, scope, and cost. Changing any of these constraints would undoubtedly have an impact on the other two factors, which is why it is critical for even minor changes to be implemented in an equitable and balanced manner.

The Iron Triangle of Project Management

Imagine if the Project Managers decided to broaden the project scope within the allotted time frame. The cost would probably skyrocket as a result of the additional resources, labor, toolsets, and other such items that need to be acquired almost immediately.

On the contrary, a significant reduction in time would result in a rush of work, which might cause project quality to plummet without fulfilling the set scope when the project is completed. A drastic cost reduction, on the other hand, would restrict the time required to meet the project scope and would impact the overall performance of the project team at large as it negatively influences team morale and commitment.

How Does Citizen Development Keep the Weighting Scale Balanced?

To keep the weighing scale of project management’s iron triangle in balance, Citizen Development serves as a magic ingredient to offset business challenges and maintain a smooth flow throughout the full project management lifecycle. It allows projects to be completed at a lower cost in less time, while still being able to meet the project scope and maintain quality. As low-code/no-code fosters robust collaboration between the business and IT teams, Project Managers will be able to boost the momentum of their project lifecycle as they count on Citizen Developers to build business-oriented solutions to resolve real-world issues, while IT professionals continue to bring their in-depth technical knowledge and coding skills to the table. This reinvention of the legacy rigid application development approach often translates to reduced risks and increased performance, faster time-to-market, and a more agile project operation that meets the defined scope with more ease and less cost.

Raveesh Dewan, Chief Executive Officer at Joget, Inc. remarked that, “We believe Project Managers leveraging Citizen Development throughout the conceptualization and ideation phase, can transform the fate of the project to ensure greater predictability and success.”

Very often, businesses are not able to fully envision and conceptualize their projects, which will eventually lead to delays and changes at a later stage, thus affecting the initial scope, cost, and time. Thanks to the emergence of Citizen Development, Project Managers can now materialize a prototype, helping businesses to ideate and generate greater clarity on the scope for a predictable delivery.

With the overarching benefits that the low-code/no-code methodologies offer, there is no doubt that Citizen Development will be a catalyst for the next digital revolution wave as it creates a common language between non-technical business experts and seasoned IT professionals, and helps Project Managers to be instrumental in creating immense business value and driving tangible results.

3. The 5 Benefits of Citizen Development That Accelerate Digitalization

According to a Gartner survey on Citizen Development, 41% of the respondents have active Citizen Development initiatives, while 20% of those who do not have one, are either evaluating or planning to hop on the Citizen Development movement. It is more than just a buzzword; it is a game-changer that will profoundly transform the way we used to operate and will eventually be a requisite element in every application development project.

  • Faster Development Time with Less Budget

To sum up, Citizen Development builds a unique ecosystem that connects the different sides of the project team into a single arena. This spurs digitalization and enables organizations to expand their horizons beyond the traditional application development boundary, which aids Project Managers to deliver exceptional results in application development projects.

In our next blog post, we will discuss how the right Citizen Development platform can help Project Managers succeed. In the meantime, start building your own enterprise app with Joget DX and choose from a variety of deployment options, including on-premise, containers, and cloud native platforms.

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