PR - DIAGNOSING PROBLEMS ON-FARM – PROCESSES USED BY AN EXPERT FARM MANAGEMENT CONSULTANT
A major constraint facing the New Zealand consultancy sector is the time and cost of training novice farm management consultants. An industry funded training programme has been developed to improve the proficiency of novice consultants. However, although this programme provides good training in benchmarking and information collection, it provides limited theory about other processes that are required for the effective diagnosis of on-farm problems. To this end, a pilot study was initiated with an expert consultant to investigate their diagnostic processes. This paper reports on some of the processes identified during this study that were important for the diagnosis of on-farm problems during a first visit to a client. The study found that constraining information gathering, triangulation, classification and diagnosis through the use of diagnostic trees were all important processes for the effective diagnosis. This research has demonstrated that the investigation of the consultancy processes of an expert consultant could provide useful theory for training novices.
Key words: problem solving, diagnosis, consultancy, key performance indicators, classification, triangulation