Project Management

Mind the Gap between BAU and Project

Relating a story of business as usual (BAU) turned project, Karen Munro explores the fine line between wasting time by adding unnecessary structure versus adding value by ensuring that each action is clearly and concisely executed. In her Project Management Insight blog, Munro discusses a BAU initiative to assist a procurement specialist in “transitioning the outcome of a tender process” involving the “change of vendors for service provision.” The project competency decided to reclassify the initiative as a project, meaning that Munro and her colleague were suddenly given a much more rigorous task then they were originally anticipating.

Above and Beyond

In a nutshell, they were required to provide a full action, risk, and issues register, a project schedule with inputs from ingoing and outgoing vendors, and a full project management plan for justifying resource use. They were additionally required to track time and cost against their initiative while engaging IT resources. Needless to say, the extra rigor seemed excessive at the time. After all, didn’t the procurement team already have a detailed tender process in place with a detailed documentation of business recommendations for transitioning vendors?

I felt as though we were being asked to go over and above the requirements of a BAU activity when what we had done in putting the project governance on the project was well and truly above the standard practice in this space.

Don’t Tick Off Your Project Manager!

In the end however, Munro decided that the added rigor of giving the initiative a project structure paid off. Scope was clearly defined. Resources were correctly allocated. All documentation was signed off appropriately by senior management and program delivery. As it turns out, the team wasn’t just being giving busy work. Yet Munro warns that in similar situations, the addition of a project management framework might be implemented for no other reason than to tick off boxes that need to be ticked. No one should have to be ticked off by an unnecessary obligation to project rigor! The moral: Consider carefully whether or not a BAU needs to become a full blown project.

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