What does BAU mean? BAU is the acronym for ‘Business As Usual’.
Business, As Usual, is the view of an organisation, Business Unit, team or individual completing their everyday work in the normal way.
What is BAU?
BAU is work carried out as part of normal business practice. This is work for either an individual or a team. And is day to day.
The Job Description lists tasks considered part of BAU.
If you are employed as a Project Manager, for example, these tasks are managing delivery, updating risks & issues, running team meetings, updating the project schedule. That is BAU work.
BAU activities keep the business running day-to-day. They do not have a finite start and finish time, like a project.
Let’s look at some other examples of BAU.
- Answering calls from customers via the telephone, email or other means are BAU tasks in a Call Center.
- Guest Services staff handling inbound guests at a hotel.
- An IT support team has tasks they would normally handle on a day to day basis for the system they are supporting.
- For an IT programmer in .NET it is coding that he or she does as part of their day job.
The difference between BAU and a project
It is good practice to set up a project when a change is required to BAU activities.
Projects have a finite start and finish time, unlike BAU activities.
A project usually has resources that work on it for the life of the project. Staff working in a BAU capacity hold that job for an infinite period.
Projects should have a business case drawn up in order to justify them going ahead. The set up of BAU activities is part of normal business practice.
What about on projects?
Project Managers must consider team members BAU roles. Some staff may share their time between BAU and project work.
In estimating project resourcing BAU activities must be factored in, for shared resources.
Staff often find that they cannot keep up with carrying out their BAU activities and their project-specific activities too.
Work slips and either way you have unhappy customers. That will be either the project sponsor or Project Control Board, or the businesses customers.
The key to managing BAU resources on a project is to agree on the prioritization of workload.
Delivering a project back to BAU
When a project is finished and has been delivered to its specified scope, 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 has to happen to transition the project back into the business?
And what support is needed for the business during this handover period? You may find once the project is handed back that the support model isn’t supporting the business.