Ireland Chapter of PMI

Citizen Development – Handbook Breakdown

Citizen Development – Handbook Breakdown

In this second post relating to the PMI's Citizen Development: The Handbook for Creators and Change Makers I will provide a breakdown of what the handbook contains. One significant point to note, the name of the handbook " ... for Creators and Change Makers", this is a signal to all, that the profession of project management is changing. Yes, it is still about standards and certification but driving change within organisations suggest that project managers need to up their game. Software development platforms are getting more and more mature, the nature of application development projects is changing and as a result Project Managers will need to learn more skills and adapt.

The Citizen Development handbook has the following sections

Part 1: Introducing Citizen Developer Canvas This section covers what citizen development is, what are it benefits does it bring. It also includes one or two examples and some real challenges introducing this type of software development into any organisation. The handbook does not pull any punches in terms of the problems that will arise if you allow business user loose on creating applications without ensuring professional IT personnel are consulted and/or a proper governance structure is not in place.

It introduces the PMI's Citizen Development Canvas, which lays out at the high level three main topics
1. Do - how does it work and developing the capability within your organisation
2. Manage and Lead - alignment to organisational needs and a suggested operating model
3. Citizen Development Maturity Model which addresses such topic as experimentation and scaling the capability to take full advantage of the benefits

Part 2: Project Delivery This is the part of the handbook that explains how Citizen Development works. There are some scary terms and suggestions that made me stop in my tracks, probably because I was schooled in Project Management before 'Agile' was even a thing.

Hyper Agile was a new term for me and it means what it says, the suggestion was even faster development and wait for it ... even less documentation and that scope creep should be embraced - blind panic setting in now. A Citizen Development Software Development Lifecycle is illustrated and as I read through the detail the panic subsided.

One of the main criticisms of Citizen Development is that it is essentially Shadow IT but this addressed directly in the handbook and the development has a lot of governance built into it and in a way removes Shadow IT

Part 3: Capability Development This section of the handbook covers three topics
1. Business Analysis and Design - how to ensure that any application does not have a negative impact on the IT environment
2. Enterprise Risk Requirement - ensure that development consider wider risk to your organisation
3. Application Development - avoid common problems pitfalls in designing data models and UX considerations

This section is not technical in nature, though that could be a relative statement. Some good process suggestions and checklists

Part 4: Operating Model The topics addressed in this section covers Organisational Structures, Governance, Performance Measurement and how to embed Citizen Development into the fabric of an organisation. It considers setting up a Citizen Development competency centre and/or a community of practice or a hybrid of both. An Operating Model is suggested

Part 5: Organisation Alignment Part 5 starts with the statement "Citizen development has the potential to digitally transform and organisation’s ability to empower individuals to build business apps that solve the problems they see around them" - strong words. This can only be achieved if the change is done at an organisational level.

The handbook outlines how to measure the return on investment of implementing citizen development practices and 'apply best practice tracking metrics' and the cultural change needed to make citizen development a success.

There has been much written about Citizen Development mostly positive and most of it is light weight. In some ways this section gave me heart. The PMI are not painting Citizen Development as a silver bullet but needs significant consideration and organisational planning to adopt successfully

Part 6: Citizen Development Maturity Model I am getting tired of this phrase but "it's a journey" from taking the first initial steps to experimenting, formally adopting citizen development as another development tool, scaling citizen development efforts, and driving innovation by truly embedding citizen development practices.

All very fine words but without saying it the PMI are laying out that anything worth doing will require vision and sticking at it.