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How Projects Differ From BAU – Feedback Please

Paul Naybour Paul Naybour

Published: 3rd September 2015

List 5 key attributes of a project and
describe how they each differ from business as usual.

  1. Projects are established to
    deliver a significant change rather than deliver the core business
    activities of an organisation. For example, a national disability
    charity who wants to maximise the involvement of volunteers in its
    core activity nationwide would establish a project to undertake the
    research, make recommendations and establish the new volunteering
    opportunities, but once these opportunities have been established,
    the ongoing management of the volunteering activities would become
    business as usual.
  2. A project is time limited whereas
    business as usual continues indefinitely. Using the example above,
    the project to identify new volunteering opportunities would be time
    limited. Once the new opportunities had been identified and
    established the project would end and the management of the new
    volunteering activity would be maintained on a continuous basis and
    become business as usual.
  3. A project has one-off deliverables
    that are not repeated whereas business as usual has deliverables
    which are repetitive and ongoing. Again, using the example of the
    project above, the project has one-off deliverables; to scope
    current volunteering activity across the country; to identify new
    opportunities to involve volunteers; to embed the new opportunities
    into current business activity. These deliverables are undertaken
    once and then the ongoing repetitive activity of recruiting and
    managing the volunteers is business as usual.
  4. A project has a person or team of
    people who have been tasked to deliver the highly bespoke project
    plan whereas business as usual has highly procedural working
    practices to enable consistency in delivery of regular operations.
    For example, the national disability charity would identify a
    project manager and/or team to oversee the project described above.
    The project team would deliver the project plan and would then be
    disbanded once the project had finished. With business as usual the
    people/team work on regular operations on a continuous basis within
    the organisation’s operational processes and procedures.
  5. A project has specific resources
    attached to it and a constrained project budget. The national
    disability charity would allocate specific resources to the above
    project and develop a specific project budget for the project
    activity. With business as usual, the organisation’s activities
    would be funded from the general operational budget and resources
    for each activity would not necessarily be identified so