Allocating resources across Business as Usual and projects

Most organizations have a mix of projects and business as usual work. But, whenever a major new project seeks to swallow all available resources, managers in charge of BAU work are vulnerable to having their resources stolen.

This arises because BAU work is often simply treated as overhead, or less productive work than projects. It has less transparency in terms of goals and deliverables than project work, particularly if the projects are for external clients and bring in money. This can be very damaging, because much BAU work is mission critical and is needed to keep the enterprise running. So what can be done?

The simple answer, I think, is to increase the visibility of what’s being done within the BAU category. In resource management software, BAU is often treated as just another project alongside the real ones, and often simply has a percentage estimate of the available resources assigned. But, if the BAU can have its main tasks /activities separately identified, visibility will be much greater. Separate resource estimates for each BAU activity will then be much easier to justify and defend.

Barry Muir is a Director of Innate Management Systems Ltd. We have been implementing resource management software in a wide variety of professional services organizations for more than 20 years.
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