This is the first in our three-part series “Why project discipline is not only for projects”, where we will address the above question.

The term ‘project’ is commonly used across organisations and can be rather ambiguous. Its use can range from everyday tasks and activities people are responsible for, to highly organised work activities to achieve strategic goals. This article seeks to clarify the grey area in the middle – those smaller tactical initiatives that are often confused with operational, everyday activity, (known as business as usual or BAU), but could still benet from project management practices.

Did you know that getting clarity on the nature of your work can help you better understand the extent to which project management disciplines can increase the likelihood of success?

A lot of value can be gained from knowing whether or not you are working on or leading a project. Quite simply, if you are unclear about the nature of your work you are susceptible to risks, and failure.

For instance:

You are working on BAU or a small project and using extensive amounts of project management tools and practices. This wastes time, resources and can over-cook the work.


You are working on a project and not implementing enough project management tools and practices. This can affect the project's timeline, lead to inaccurate expectations and more often than not project failure.

These are just two ways you risk getting it wrong if you don’t have ‘project’ clarity. BUT there is a way to ensure your approach is not too big, not too small but “just right” as goldilocks would say!

To get clarity on whether you are working on a project or Business as Usual (BAU) ask yourself:


 BAU differs from a project in that it address non-unique, routine tasks on frequent basis. Look out for our next post that will show how project management disciplines can provide value in your BAU work.


So it's most likely a project, what now and how do I avoid these issues?


You will need to scope the work to determine the right project management disciplines to use to ensure success.

To establish the scope there are a range of questions you can ask the advocate (i.e. Sponsor, line manager) of your project, a few include:

  1. What are the objectives of this work? What, if any, are the bene ts it will bring to the organisation or users?
  2. What specialist resource or skills do you need to deliver a successful project?
  3. Who are the key stakeholders and why are they important?
  4.  How much change will your project introduce to the organisation?

These are just some of the indicators you can use to determine the scale and scope of your project; however, they will help you assess the appropriate project management disciplines needed to achieve a successful outcome.

Tregaskis Brown can help you navigate these questions. We have the training, skills and resources to help you deliver success, no matter what that looks like. Click here to read about our Project Essentials training course.


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Rebecca Cleland


About the Author

Rebecca joined Tregaskis Brown as a graduate consultant in March 2021, after completing a Bachelor of Business, majoring in Management.

“In my time at Tregaskis Brown I have been involved in tailoring project approaches to different organisations, based on their needs. In this time it’s clear that adopting an appropriate project approach is vital to success.”