To what extent is your project ‘Business As Usual’ or ‘Business Unusual’?

No single question could be more important to understanding the Key Success Factors & Risks of a strategic initiative or critical project.

Explore Business Unusual for your project or initiative using the insights, checklists and tools to be found under the tabs above.

What is Business Unusual?

Business Unusual is exactly what the label suggests.  It is a departure from ‘business as usual’ – seeing to innovate to find new and more innovative solutions, processes, technologies, products, customers, channels and so on.  Given the rate of change and the demand for innovation, ‘Business Unusual’ emerges as is one of the 9 business fundamentals of a project.  It is a key driver of project complexity, ambition and risk.

Why does Business Unusual Matter?

Where an initiative is to be found on the scale from business as usual to business unusual is a measure not just of how strategic it actually is.  Also, of how complex, risky and ambitious it is too. Importantly, it also provides an insight to the requirements of success and how the initiative needs to be managed or led.

Problems arise when business unusual initiatives are managed as if they were business as usual.  Business unusual initiatives demand greater, speed, agility, collaboration and innovation.  This presents challenges for hierarchical organizations, with multi-year planning cycles, bureaucratic procedures and departmental silos.

Use the panel on the ‘project chassis’ one pager to explore: What aspects of the project are ‘Business Unusual’?

  • What is new or innovative about this project/initiative?
  • How much change or disruption is likely/evident?
  • Is there any Hidden Complexity? I.e. Factors difficult to manage or predict.
  • Are New Ways of Working required? E.g. Speed, agility or collaboration.

Just how strategic is your project or initiative?  One way to find out is to use the Business Unusual Test.  Find out how here.

How much innovation is in your portfolio? This test can also be used to determine how balanced your portfolio of strategic initiatives is. Ideally, a portfolio would have initiatives across this matrix, with the average of all the numbers (for each project) being close to 5. Find out more here.

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