Project Everest

Communication Nation: Standardising FarmEd on a Global Scale

by
Liv Hendy
Liv Hendy | Jan 30, 2018 | in Knowledge Base

As FarmEd continues to thrive globally, communication remains at the heart of our operations, with teams operating across four different time zones, it is the processes and operations that run internally that allow communication to flow effectively and it will be the root to our success in building a strong adaptable model across these four varying cultural climates.

 

THE PROBLEM

As a TL working in Cambodia on Field development, I will be talking about what I know but I truly believe these ideas could be applied across projects. Field development experimentation plots are designed to test the viability of the blueprints in there specific country contexts, for this I will talk about Cambodia. Cambodian farming is both rich with knowledge but in desperate need of adaptation in order to remain competition against the large export nations it is sandwiched between. When designing a blueprint MA teams sought heavily to gather wide variables of data in order to create a comprehensive snapshot of Siem Reap agricultural industry. This same attention to detail and capturing of quantitative data isn’t employed to the same degree with the field development teams, often due to the experts ability to make judgement calls on the ground, success is measured by a few individuals and not tracked and updated in a quantifiable way. This also means that teams trekking without that same agricultural knowledge must rely on independent research or expertise from those not on the ground in order to make that same judgement call, often causing a delay in progress or potentially making the wrong judgement having not been able to assess accuracy problem within the plot.

 

THE SOLUTION?

Treat field development like we treat our internal admin in country systems. Using the expertise of our AG experts (Emma, Zoe and Lisa) they will be able to identify problems and ideate solutions with a consistent google Drive layout, clear data collection points and acknowledged areas where problems can be identified before organised check ins.

 

My idea is a 5 step approach:

  1. 1 Drive to rule them all: the field development drives need to be formatted the same way, with the same folders and the same sections for categorising information regardless of the stage. The problem across drives is month to month, country to country different teams are defining what is ‘blueprint data’ where do we put research into agricultural practices or our information collected into irrigation systems. One drive, one format, means those in Fiji can know were the data log for the experimentation log is in malawi or Timor can find inspiration from the dry irrigation system cambodia just implemented or the wet season system fiji just completed. The cambodian drive has been reorganised in this manner, attached is a photo but please swing by and have a look ;)
    H.WORKHUB_> A. FARMED_> Cambodia

 

  1. Logs on logs on logs:  Logs need to be consistent across countries providing information that may be missed (what has the weather been, what are some observations seen) or information refined into key subtitles after each visit (Actions taken, actions planned, etc.) this will provide us with the ability to trace actions and steps. We currently have used our log for one of our experimentation sites like this, link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Q2WD4EJTfYb1uwZsR5QMJiAYfX3aKh6WUrf_r5Mkx28/edit But input into more development plots (ie Malawi and Fiji) would be great regarding what records need to be taken, what should and shouldn’t be included.

 

  1. BLOCKS: Blocks will be a potential document that needs to be due the night before planned conversation with the twins, written out with drive links in preparation for the call. This way the twins will have time to assess if any blocks have come up and give them more time to assess the situation and give advice during their planned calls. It would be great to get input in a cohesive and intuitive way to structure these from issues that each country have faced, would form be better or google doc similar to an RFI?

 

  1. Sheets for Field development activities: Sheets can be used as supplements to these systems providing the raw data in which under categorised subheadings data can be input daily/weekly/fortnightly in order to track external progress regarding climate data, weather data or inputs on the field. Summarised notes can then be extracted upon these, the sheets will be from a defined metric measurement system…

 

  1. …..Speaking of which, METRICS: as per Gabriels crowdicity post “the magic of measurements and metrics’ the system across countries needs to be formatted to be unified. This streamlines back of house processes and prevents excess work at later dates. Strict formatting rules must also be fleshed out, examples of this can be estimated land size cannot be 700ha, 700-900, 750 square metres, these processes need to be consistent across countries from the moment teams step off. Here is the working sheet of metrics, please copy this into your drive and fill in as progress occurs: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1mkNrNjtw4PCThZdvr32uVeh0SSi5D4OVMoMhZJlBDhI/edit#gid=0

 

Progress comes from interdisciplinary collaboration, within the trekking teams, the country teams and the world wide teams, but often our ideas are struggling to be found by those facing the same problems or looking for more inspiration. I think this could be a solution to solve a lot of the barriers to communication we are having, we are all working in such rich cultural environments that we should seek to find common ground internally in order to understand and highlight the vast differences that exist externally.

Ciaran Hoare Jan 31, 2018

RE blocks, I would have a google sheet which can act as a running log of blocks and their ideated solutions.

Reply 1

Zoe Cahill Jan 31, 2018

I also agree that the spreadsheets would be a great idea. This way you could link all of the countries together in a more simple yet effective way, whilst also giving them the opportunity to review the blocks and adjust their own plans accordingly as well as contributing to ways to mitigate the problem.

This month on Field Development in Fiji, we have also decided to take a strong focus on running logs. We realised by simply arranging it in a table format with clear and concise dot points for each section. I have attached what we have decided to do.
https://docs.google.com/document/d/16NHS0Qa7W...cBornGnhBY/edit

Everything you have said is 100% valid and after our call tomorrow I think we can get on the same page.

Reply 1

Liv Hendy Jan 31, 2018

Sounds amazing, yes similar with us thinking of the same notion with the logs of the field, maybe we can discuss standardised points across countries to use as subheadings - ie timings/locations, developments/actions taken, next steps/actions forward. Can discuss over the phone tomorrow would be great to get on the same page week 1

Reply 0

Jimmy Bayssari Feb 1, 2018

THIS

"1. Drive to rule them all: the field development drives need to be formatted the same way, with the same folders and the same sections for categorising information regardless of the stage. The problem across drives is month to month, country to country different teams are defining what is ‘blueprint data’ where do we put research into agricultural practices or our information collected into irrigation systems. One drive, one format, means those in Fiji can know were the data log for the experimentation log is in malawi or Timor can find inspiration from the dry irrigation system cambodia just implemented or the wet season system fiji just completed. The cambodian drive has been reorganised in this manner, attached is a photo but please swing by and have a look ;)
H.WORKHUB_> A. FARMED_> Cambodia"

I am all for this 100% as it makes so much sense. I don't think it needs to be limited to Field Development though- it should be one FarmEd drive that rules them all. The example I love to use for this is, imagine if Project Everest changed it's drive every month? Amber may have a minor meltdown.

These are improvements that you have identified that can be implemented immediately. I feel like these improvements will give rise to even further changes that will assist in streamlining the process. Just remember, lean is best!

Reply 2

Jimmy Bayssari Feb 1, 2018

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Liv Hendy Feb 1, 2018

Ack, Thinking the FarmEd TL's can lock in a time to all jump online and communicate where documents need to be, will be a little hectic but could get it down over the weekend (this time or next weekend?) Thoughts on setting a potential date and started to move files around? Zoe (cahill) also suggested there could be FarmEd Workhub for all things farmed, then individual countries for contacts, stakeholders and TL for the day?

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View all replies (2)

Mallory Dobner Jul 1, 2018

Status label added: Work Update

Reply 0

Wade Tink Jul 1, 2018

Status label added: Proposal adopted

Status label removed: Work Update

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