Process Documentation in Agricultural Development Projects

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  • Process Documentation in Agricultural Development Projects

    Dr A.S.CharyuluMANAGE, Hyderabadfor academic and non-profit use only

  • Task and ProcessThe job itself is called the taskThe way in which people think, feel or interact in carrying it out is process.

  • Task and ProcessTask - people are dealing with the job itself, the task to be performed.Process - people are concerning themselves with people, the way they co-operate, the way they control their resources', the process of human interaction: 'process' for short .

  • Task and Process SkillsWhenever people work together they use two sorts of skills:in respect of the job itself, people use their professional or technical skills, such as accountancy, engineering, agricultural, computer programming.In respect of process, people use skills such as listening to others' ideas, presenting their own ideas clearly, managing time, establishing common comprehension.

  • Process issuesThe way they think (with differing patterns of thought)The way they act (with a variety of behavioural skills)The way they feel (the emotions that arise)The values they respect, the ethics they uphold, the judgements they make.

  • Process issuesProcess also embraces the reaction of people to the physical and emotional environment in which they work, how they are affected by it and what they do to influence it.

    Since Process issues influence Task results, and often critically, it follows that people need to develop both sorts of skills, and to be aware of them in others.

  • What is ProcessA series of steps and interrelated work activities, characterized by specific inputs, and tasks which add value, and make up a procedure for a set of specific outputs.

  • What is DocumentationThe process of systematically collecting, organizing, storing, retrieving, and disseminating information.

  • Process DocumentationThe word process refers to the steps a transaction follows through an organization's systems, applications, and people. The word documentation refers to a narrative, flowchart, or some other description of the way the process works.

  • A systematic way to capture what happens in a process of change and how it happens, to organise and disseminate the findings.Process Documentation Defined

  • Why Process Documentation aims to improve the quality and impact of a project helps project staff and stakeholders to carefully track meaningful events in their projects. enables to understand what is happening, how it is happening and why it may be happening. share and disseminate relevant knowledge and experiences in effective ways. foster innovation processes to scale and adapting them to other locations and contexts.

  • Why Process DocumentationTo get our message acrossTo promote and mobilize resourcesTo monitor, evaluate and understand the impact To consciously make changes in our workTo use it for advocacy purposesTo influence policies and practicesTo add to institutional memoryTo capture events, learning and experiencesTo generate knowledge and be an authority.

  • Characteristics of Process DocumentationRecords change, resistance to change, conflict and resolution and in helping the actors to reflect and learn.Systematically looks at context, history and traditions, rather than being confined to what is going on during the limited lifetime and the spatial and institutional boundaries of a projectImportant for projects with social or political objectives such as improved governance, empowerment or stakeholder cooperation.

  • Characteristics of Process DocumentationCaptures the change process that a project aims to bring about activities, interactions between stakeholders, issues and contextual factors etc.Organises information in such a way that stakeholders have an opportunity to reflect and learn about the processAnalyses information by looking at common themes, trends and patterns and placing the findings in the context of the projectDisseminates information quickly enough to be useful.

  • What should be documented?The decision making process:Who is part of the decision making processes and who is not?How are decisions taken formally and informally?Are there conflicts in decision making if so, what are they?Is there resistance to change in the decision-making process if so, why and about what?Does every stakeholder have the same access to information?Do stakeholders consider shared decision making to be a better way of doing things?

  • What should be documented?The process of concerted action:How do stakeholders organise themselves (formally and informally)?How do stakeholders traditionally communicate with other stakeholders (formal and informal networks)?Are there dependency relationships if so, what are they and how do they manifest themselves?Do all stakeholders have the same objectives? What are the differences?Do stakeholders follow up on agreed actions?

  • What should be documented?The process of behavioural and attitude change:What are stakeholders beliefs, norms and values in relation to working with each other?How do stakeholders describe each others attitudes / behaviour?How are stakeholders known in the community (are there signs of stigma, prejudices, nicknames)?Is there easy contact between stakeholders or a large social and cultural gap?Which attitudes hamper or promote concerted action and shared decision making?

  • What should be documented?The process of empowerment:Which stakeholders consider themselves powerless and why?Who has the power in and who has none?Are there any power conflicts?Which cultural or social traditions and patterns block the empowerment of groups?Are all stakeholders represented in the decision-making process?

  • Methods of Process DocumentationObservationPersonal interviewsFocus group discussionsCase studySuccess storyDocumentation of anecdotes, jokes, and stories which reveal stereotypes and attitudesDiaries of project team members and/or stakeholders.

  • Organising InformationFiling the information: interview notes, sound cassettes and files, video sequences and photos need simple filing. All these materials must be described and put into a file with dates, names, subjects etc.Information and materials must be organised into articles, photo books, video bites and films, case studies, columns, written portraits etc.

  • Tools of Process DocumentationText-base documentsPhotographsVideos and documentariesWebsitesBlogsSocial media-Flicker; Twitter; Facebook; SlideShare; YOUTube; Community of Practice etc.

  • Disseminating ChannelsPhoto montagesPostersNewslettersPhotographsVideosSummaries of meetingsSuccess StoriesCase studiesTV programmesWeb2 tools

  • Who will do?Process documentation specialists are part of the project teamThey capture change and reactions to change by watching and noticing, talking to people, taking minutes of meeting, taking photographs and listening to peoples life stories.While the main actors were closely focused on the tasks, process documentation specialists were able to act more intuitively, ask questions and synthesize the process.

  • Insidersit is still sensible to appoint someone to dothe job of process documentation, someone who is not involved in daily project work, but can concentrate on capturing the process, organising information, stimulating reflection and analysis, and disseminating information products.Who will do?

  • Direct StakeholdersInvolving stakeholders directly in process documentation stimulates opportunities for learning and reflectionOutsidersHelps to observe the process of the project more clearly and more critically. Involving an independent documentary film maker, journalist or writer will give good results.Who will do?

  • Common Skill GapsPatienceSensitive to confidentialityShortsightednessTechnical skill to produce as per the needsCreativity and innovationProper understanding of culture, people, location, normsGrounded and human face Progressive learning

  • Good PD Specialist Non-judgmental and can listen to many perspectives Can ask questions that stimulate critical thinking and dig below the surface Able to stay objective while also seeing the big picture and placing learning in the context of the larger vision Culturally competent.

  • Good PD Specialist Understands the dynamics of human transformation Trusted by the community, but can report findings without bias Can synthesize large volumes of information to identify key learning points Skilled at communicating messages in a positive way.

  • Functional Skills Required Writing skills Converting information into interesting stories Editing and proofreading Taking photographs and simple video sequences Producing newsletter, flyers, posters etc. Operating skills to use application software tools (word processing, design, layout, photo editing etc. Developing a website, blogs, skills to use social media.

  • Reference

    Schouten, Ton; Mizyed, Buthaina; Al-Zoubi, Rania; Abu-Elseoud, May; Abd-Alhadi, Firas T. (2007). The Inside Story: Process Documentation Experiences from EMPOWERS.Taylor, Max. (1992). Coverdale on management. London and Boston, Butterworth-Heinemann.