Design & Technology October 07, 2013
Moving into Business As Usual (BAU)
How do we move a new client into a Business As Usual “BAU” way of working? (this would apply to an internal team too).
Well don’t just jump in and start – at first it’s gradual. We start with a “familiarisation” period where we establish the processes and relationships, formalise roles and responsibilities and so on. We get to know each other and assess the best way of working together. Every organisation is different, so we need to tailor processes so they work for them.
For me, these setup tasks are essential in getting the BAU function off on the right footing. As we begin to get all this information agreed we slowly start doing some BAU tasks to test the processes and make sure everyone is happy with the proposed way of working. From there I guess we just naturally slide into it.
The purpose of the set-up activities isn’t to define processes and areas of responsibility so you can blame people if something goes wrong or to set a process you stick rigidly to throughout your relationship.
The purpose is to establish a baseline of processes and to be clear about who does what. These will (and should) evolve and change over time to get the best out of everyone.
These processes, roles and responsibilities are essential for setting expectations and to ensure that everyone has the same understanding and will help everyone in the long run.
Things like what are the SLA’s are, when regular reports should be sent, how frequently update calls happen, who the key stakeholders are, what do we do in the event of a severity issue, etc… If you define these up front, when you come to put them into practice, everyone will feel very confident you’re in control of getting stuff done and ultimately developing the websites.
Dealing with crisis
So how do we handle a crisis and emergencies? Well, the first thing we do is look at how we handled the last crisis and what we decided in our incident review session worked well and what didn’t work as well. As what we absolutely don’t want to do is to make the same decisions this time, that weren’t right last time.
You should already have a base for how to handle a crisis that you have defined during the setup activities; who to contact and how, how frequently your updates will be, your escalation routes, etc and this should be your starting point when entering into a contract.
However, things don’t always work out the way you thought they would, so an understanding that you need to have flexibility is key. An example is if you decided in previous incident review sessions that email wasn’t right as you still got phone calls as the emails went unread then you may decide that a better plan is to have a conference call. It sounds common sense but people can get stuck in the rule book.
This is where constant review of your processes really assists in the day to day activity, encouraging the team to continue with what’s working well and adapting and continuously improving on things that you all decided didn’t work as expected.