Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Projects versus Business As Usual


In my last post I indicated that I would be starting a new project focusing on the mastery of prayer and the practice of meditation. I was wrong.

The thing is this activity does not fit properly the description of a project. It fits better under the heading of Operations or “Business as Usual”.

Business As Usual
Whilst searching for a good answer to what is the difference between a Project and Business As Usual – this search result came up with a concise answer:

  • PROJECT – has a beginning and end; creates a unique product or service
  • OPERATION – is on-going and repetitive
Projects and Operations have similarities in that both they have to be managed, are constrained by cost and must be planned, monitored and controlled. Quite often projects lead to work being done that is similar to the work during the project.

Another way to look at the two is with the following examples:
  • A project would be to explore passes through the mountains to set-up new trade routes. Business as usual is to make use of those trade routes and keep them safe.
  • A project is set-up to trial use of new triage processes in Accident in Emergency. Business as usual is the adoption of those triage processes in every day work.
  • A project is set-up to create a new blog. Business as usual is keeping the blog updated with new updates and responding to comments.

Prayer, Meditation and Translation skills
Having thought about Mastery some more since my recent post, I can see that there are projects within the path towards mastery. For example, projects aimed at learning specific skills and knowledge such as new katas in martial arts or reading, absorbing and putting in to practice meditation techniques.

However, I do not believe that the path towards mastery is project based. Rather projects can help build towards the next level but its repetitive nature of business as usual allows for the step, plateau, step growths towards mastery.

Power of Prayer
As a quick aside, I want to share with you a clip about the power of prayer that comes from a film called Ushpizin. It’s a film about “An Orthodox Jewish couple's faith is tested after praying to the Lord for a child on the Succoth holiday.” Warning: the clip is 5:13 minutes long and loud in parts.