BAU or project?

  • BAU

    Standard definition:

    The way the business normally achieves its objectives.

    BAU, the acronym for business as usual, is the usual business structures, processes, and systems used by the organisation to deliver its normal operational functions and objectives.  It refers to the activities that a well-managed business takes account of, plans and budgets for day to day, month to month and year to year.

    It includes cyclical work that we know about and can plan for as this should be built into our operational plans and budgets. For example:

    • 5 year strategic planning cycle
    • Annual financial and business planning cycle
    • 5 year cyclical replacement programme for IT
    • 2 year accreditation review cycle
    • A rolling Estates and Facilities planned maintenance schedule
    • Applications and enrolment
    • Exams
    • Graduation
    • Timetabling

    Significant change to BAU work being driven by the needs of the business area to achieve or improve the activities they hold primary responsibility for that requires a budget, specified resources and planned outcomes should be classified as a project.  This includes changes to either what the work is or how it is to be approached.


    Standard definition:

    A temporary endeavour for the purpose of delivering one or more business products according to an agreed business case  (i.e. within agreed time, cost and quality parameters)

    There are many definitions of a project even within the world of professional project management. This may seem confusing but closer examination shows that they are simply emphasising slightly different aspects of what might be defined as a project or aspects of managing initiatives as projects.

    Project Management Institute (PMI) definition:

    A project is a temporary endeavour undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result

    International Project Management Association (IPMA) definition:

    A project is a time and cost constrained operation to realise a set of defined deliverables (the scope to fulfil the project's objectives) up to quality standards and requirements

    To help you decide if a planned initiative should be classified as a project at Brookes you can apply our three-step test.