What does BAU mean?

What does BAU mean? BAU is the acronym for ‘Business As Usual’.

Business As Usual is the view of an organisation, business unit, work team or team member that happens every day in the normal way.

BAU is the work that is understood by teams to be carried out as part of their standard daily work practice.

Tasks that are considered part of BAU are the tasks that are discussed or listed on your position description.  If for example you are paid to be a project manager, then there are a set of tasks that you would be expected to perform as part of your normal day.  These tasks would be managing the project delivery, updating risks and issues, communicating to the team, holding team meetings, updating the project schedule, etc.

Let’s look at some other examples of BAU.

  • In a call centre, it is answering calls from customers via the telephone, email or other means that are set up as standard ways for customers to contact the call centre;
  • For a dedicated project team member, it is working on the set tasks that have been assigned to that work team or team member in order to produce the delivery outcomes;
  • For an IT support team, it is the tasks that they would normally handle on a day to day basis for the system that they are supporting.
  • For an IT programmer in .NET it is coding that he or she does as part of their day job.

In the context of projects where there are shared resources it is important that BAU activities are factored into resource estimation, as staff often find that they cannot keep up with carrying out their BAU activities and their project specific activities too.  Usually something slips and either way you have unhappy customers,  be that the project sponsor or Project Control Board, because delivery falls behind, or the business customers that use your services because there are delays in getting their requests met.

When a project is finished and has been delivered, or otherwise, to its specified scope, then it is handed back to the business so that it becomes Business As Usual for them.

It is important to consider what handing back into a BAU state means, what is needed to transition the business into this occurring, and what support is needed for the business during this handover period.



Written by Karen Munro

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net