by Jacques Mulder

Department of Agriculture Improves Service Delivery


National Department of Agriculture Improves Service Delivery
National Department of Agriculture Improves Service Delivery

The National Department of Agriculture based in Pretoria, have dramatically improved service delivery to rural communities by implementing the PSNext project management system.

The Department of Agriculture is involved in a large number of projects for the benefit of communities and farmers, such as erecting a variety of fences (including elephant fences), drilling boreholes, rural development, rehabilitation of irrigation schemes, and various other community projects.
A R600 million project is now planned to upgrade the Vallharts/Taung Irrigations Scheme.
According to Mr Jaques Mulder, who is responsible for all engineering and construction projects, they have been able to achieve a dramatic improvement in delivery by using the PSNext enterprise project management system.
“Previously due to lack of information, it was difficult to manage teams in the field. Team productivity was low resulting in communities suffering as urgent community needs were not being met.”

Now, with the aid of PSNext, the work is clearly scoped and managed on a weekly basis. Teams who perform on target are rewarded with incentives. In cases where team members under-perform, they are placed under pressure from their peers as the whole team suffers.
“For example, we now find that the same teams are able to drill more boreholes in one quarter compared the whole of the previous year – a dramatic improvement in service levels,” says Mulder.

Other benefits include much better management visibility: “Using a project dashboard, our directors are now able to clearly view the status of all projects in PSNext. Any variations from the plan are clearly exposed to allow further investigation”.
PSNext also improves management productivity: ”Management reports are now printed in just minutes that previously used to take days to produce.”
PSNext is also used to store project documentation, including maps and drawings: “Due to the web based nature of PSNext, our staff are able to view and extract current documents” says Mulder.
“Expensive mistakes are avoided as the latest version of the document is visible and strict version history is maintained. In addition, our staff are automatically notified via e-mail when they are assigned to new projects and tasks.”

The department is now implementing the concepts of Earned Value with great success. “We are now able compare the budgeted cost of work with the value that has been delivered. This, in turn, is compared to the actual cost of work performed. This allows projects to be easily compared based on cost and schedule performance.

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