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Feedback Please – Attributes Of A Project

Paul Naybour Paul Naybour

Published: 3rd October 2018

TQ: List 5 key attributes of a project and describe how each differs from Business As Usual.

A: The 5 key attributes of a project are:
1. They are unique
2. They have a finite lifespan i.e. a clear start and end date
3. They operate under a set budget e.g. CAPEX
4. They seek to introduce change
5. They vary in size

1. Projects are unique i.e. are a one-off activity, whereas business as usual (BAU) tasks seek to implement the same thing repeatedly. BAU tasks are usually derived from projects. For example building a new model of a car would be a project as it hasn’t been done before and the outcome is to create something new. BAU would be a production line of an existing model. They are creating the same thing again and again using the same tools and techniques.

2. Projects have a limited lifespan, once deliverables have been met. The project then closes down whereas BAU activities are continuous. For example creating a template for a software; for this a project team would be given a deadline of when to develop this by whereas BAU would deliver templates indefinitely until otherwise told. This is important because project managers need to be good at managing temporary teams. Whereas BAU managers may work with the same people for many years. 

3. Projects have a set budget in which to deliver the agreed requirements. For example when building a house there will be a pre-determined budget set forth by the client whereas BAU would use an operating budget. Projects often draw funding from Capital budgets whereas BAU is revenue funded.  This is important because the arrangments for capital funding project often require a formal business case. 

4. Projects introduce a change which could improve a service or product whereas BAU deliver the same product or service all the time, the output would be the same. So for example a project would introduce a train service whereas BAU would be to operate this once it is opened. These two approaches need different mindsets. A Project team need to feel comfortable with managing changing objectives whereas BAU teams need to be comfortable delivering the same service in a consistent way,.

5. Projects vary in size across the lifecycle, with new people joining and leaving the project in different phases. They can be small, medium or large whereas BAU would deliver the same output using the same resources each time for a number of years. For example a project could look to deliver a new piece of software for a specific purpose. The software creation could have many different subtasks and each subtask could vary in size or complexity. BAU on the other hand would look to deploy the same thing by using the same tools and techniques to achieve the same output, therefore nothing changes thus leaving the activity to remain the same size.

I have just started revising and this question took me 21 minutes which I know is too much. Also it is time-consuming writing it down and then typing it up on here just to get someone to check. Is there another way around this? You could type your answers in directly


  1. Paul says:

    A good first attempt, some more detail is required to get full marks. Remember that you need to include 4-5 sentences in each paragraph to get full marks.

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