Agriculture and food are the most important industry’s in the world. As such it is imperative that farmers are aware of and have the support necessary to make critical decisions that produce favorable results to continually assist in sustaining life on the planet. To maintain the momentum of agricultural growth and the livelihood of farmers, having skilled project managers as part of the infrastructures to support and optimize their operations is necessary. Let’s take the examples of irrigation, the project manager will aid in identifying regions with high irrigation potential and areas requiring improvement to existing irrigation and develop a strategy for achieving the goals of such an engagement. In crop demo projects the project manager will work collaboratively with the farmers to create a demonstration that highlights new and existing crop varieties to a multitude of interested parties i.e. farmers, commodity buyers, NGO’s etc. (preparing plan for evaluation and selection). The most important tasks of a project manager based on the examples used above are:
* Defining and establishing objectives and priorities (short-term, medium-term, long-term);
* directing the:
* annual planning and budgeting processes;
* formulation of detailed work programs for staff within each of the project’s units;
* monitoring and training staff and farmers to implement
* supervising the day-to-day implementation, identifying problems that arise and finding solutions for them
* monitoring project performance against objectives
* monitoring staff performance against agreed work targets/timelines and its impacts to the budget
* Discussions with project Sponsors/Subject matter experts (the farmers) about the quality of the services provided to them
* identifying strengths and weaknesses and recommending appropriate remedies for the weaknesses.
* Resources (finance, manpower, equipment).
* Skills (technical, management, communication).
* Motivation (material incentives - salaries, bonuses, promotions; non-material incentives - job satisfaction, recognition of good performance by senior officials).
Regardless of the type of agricultural project the project manager will:
work closely with their clients/sponsors (farmers, NGO’s, other businesses, etc.) to clearly define the project, its objectives, costs, prospective risks and the business value it will deliver (Mission, Vision and Values)
create a well-designed strategic plan and schedule to achieve the (long and short-term) goals of the project
manage relationships, project resources etc. to ensure project(s) are on track; identify areas of improvement
manage and measure project performance as well as convert the knowledge of existing/historical challenges & transform into a strategic development plan
leverage knowledge of locality to create intentionally holistic development projects that unify and drive growth through inclusivity of the community
conduct analysis on current practices and advise/make recommendations to enhance processes and productivity; and so much more.
If you would like to learn more about how Project Management can benefit your farming operations please don’t hesitate to contact me via email [email protected] or by phone 646.470.6033.
With Gratitude and well wishes,
Lanasia Fuller-Bey, Principal Project and Program Management Consultant