Citizen Development in The Project Economy
A citizen developer is a user without coding knowledge who creates new business applications for consumption by others using Low Code Development Platforms (LCDP) or No Code Development Platforms (NCDP) sanctioned by corporate IT.
All types of organizations and companies, be them big or small, mature or new ones, need more and more software to perform their day-to-day operations with customers, providers, employees, etc. IT departments need more and more software developers, on payroll or outsourced, but there is a global shortage of software developers.
Fortunately, there is a variety of cloud platforms that make possible for anyone to be a developer. Without coding knowledge, they can produce high quality code, delivering web and mobile applications simply by reusing components hiding all the technical complexity, so that they can focus on the business value.
For instance, anyone can create a survey with SurveyMonkey or Google Forms, an email marketing campaign with Mailchimp, a visual report with PowerBI, a website or a blog with WordPress or Wix, etc. Some other popular No Code platforms are:
- Zapier, to connect applications to each other.
- Shopify, an e-commerce platform for online stores.
- Betty Blocks, for business intelligence.
- AppSheet, acquired by Google in January 2020.
- Power Apps, by Microsoft.
- Unqork, to build workflow web pages.
- Webflow, used to build websites front-end (responsive web pages).
- Airtable, to build websites back-end (databases).
- Glide, to build mobile applications (not to be published at Google Play or App Store, but to be deployed as links resembling pure mobile apps, a.k.a. PWA).
The Project Economy is one in which people have the skills and capabilities they need to turn ideas into reality. It is where organizations deliver value to stakeholders through the successful completion of projects and delivery of products.
In this context, PMI is decidedly helping citizen developers to unleash their potential. So far, they have delivered an introductory course and they have also published a book. PMI proposes a framework and a methodology based on roles, techniques, a maturity model, etc. The main goal is that organizations can take advantage of citizen development avoiding some typical problems such as the Shadow IT.
According to Gartner Group, by 2024, low-code application development will be responsible for more than 65% of application development activity. This means most software projects in the project economy should include citizen developers. Project managers for these projects should facilitate the project team to collaborate effectively with IT and also with business stakeholders.
Citizen development does not mean software projects work on their own, apart from the IT area, rather the opposite. Project team members use LCNC tools provided by IT, who is always accountable for meeting the nonfunctional requirements. Citizen development make IT move from “working for the business” to “working with the business”.
Software projects in the project economy use a hyper-agile development lifecycle. They follow agile cycles to build prototypes and MVPs to deliver value to business users ASAP, always under IT technical oversight.
Whenever the project economy is to use citizen developers, we project managers need to make sure that all stakeholders collaborate to deliver business value. Effective requirement management has always been a major challenge at software projects. Quoting Tom DeMarco from his book Peopleware:
“The major problems of systems work are not so much technological as sociological.”
PMPeople is the tool for the project economy. It is aimed to unify professional project management by these differential points:
- Designed by and for professional project managers, following professional project management standards.
- Online productivity –less meetings, less documents, less workflows– through distributed collaboration among 12 specialized roles: Organization Owner, 6 roles on demand management and 5 roles on supply management.
- Freemium product –unlimited time, unlimited users, only managers have to pay– usable via web and mobile application.
Start using PMPeople for free, for unlimited time and for any number of users. In premium organizations, only managers have to pay. Several roles –stakeholders, team members, sponsors and resource managers– are always free. You can increase or decrease your premium seats according to the organization actual needs. Premium organizations have access to our interactive support through Slack. Our servers are located in EU. This software can also be hosted on customer premises.
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