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The Meaning of Business-as-Usual

In case you’re wondering, BAU does not stand for Behavioral Analysis Unit. Nor does it refer to one of the second largest of the Fiji islands, home to the Kubuna Tribe. When it comes to IT management literature or peers referring to “BAU,” you can be sure they are talking about business-as-usual. Karen Munro gives a full explanation for this term at her Project Management Insight blog.

What It Isn’t

Plenty of misconceptions abound about the BAU term. As is the case with any buzz term, the original meaning tends to slip and slide into something else. Ever play the game “Whisper Down the Alley” as a child?

If you hear BAU being used in the context of “Consultant X is doing BAU for organization Y,” that’s an improper use of the term. Additionally, it is sometimes used to refer to tasks in a project aimed at changing the way things are done in an organization, but that’s not business operations BAU; it’s just project BAU. Also, giving employees tasks that are outside of their typical routine may be termed as a deviation from BAU, but that is not always the case. Non-routine tasks can also be BAU tasks.

What It Is

If, for instance, an employee is doing a task that is within their job description, this is BAU. Changes delivered to business operations (via a given project) that fall within the standard strategy of the business are BAU. Any task that complies with a service level agreement or operating level agreement is a BAU. Anything that fits with the overall objective of the organization is BAU, including roles that project team members are assigned for a particular project. Although, Munro is keen to point out that the former is a form of operations BAU, while the latter falls under the category of project BAU.

Read the original blog at:

About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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