Does your project pass the bus test?

Last updated by Tom Bui [SSW] 4 months ago.See history

We often talk about the 'bus test' to assess our project's resilience: What happens if your project lead gets hit by a bus? But let's consider a less gloomy, yet equally unexpected scenario: What if they're recruited for a top-secret government mission? In either case, the question remains: Is your project structured well enough to survive such unforeseen events?

Document Everything

Ensure all project-related knowledge is well documented. This includes not only technical documentation but also process workflows, login credentials, and decision-making rationales. Use tools like Confluence to keep documentation centralized and accessible.

Share Knowledge Regularly

Encourage knowledge sharing through regular team meetings and internal presentations. Use pair programming or code reviews to ensure more than one person is familiar with each part of the codebase.

Define Clear Processes

Have clear, documented processes for common and critical tasks. This includes processes for deployment, handling emergencies, and onboarding new team members.

Implement a Buddy System

Assign a ‘buddy’ for every critical role. This buddy should be capable of taking over the role in case of an emergency. Regularly rotate these assignments to spread knowledge.

Use Accessible Tools

Ensure all tools and resources used in the project are accessible to more than one team member. Avoid situations where only one person has access to a crucial tool or piece of information. A great place to store these is Microsoft Teams. See our rule: (Does your project pass the bus test?)

Plan for Absences

Regularly conduct ‘absence drills’ where a key team member is simulated to be unavailable. This helps identify weaknesses in the current resilience plan.

Foster a Culture of Continuity

Encourage a mindset where every team member understands the importance of continuity. This includes being proactive about sharing information and training others.


Remember, the goal is not to prepare for the unlikely event of a team member being hit by a bus or whisked away on a secret mission. It’s about ensuring your project is resilient, no matter what life throws your way. A project that passes the 'bus test' is robust, less stressful for the team, and ultimately more successful.

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