The Big Q: How can I prepare for getting hit by a bus?Posted almost 5 years ago by Client Server

Q : I'm a member of a small team - and by small, I mean there are three of us. I'm often the only engineer working on technical aspects of our projects.

This actually happens more times than I want to admit. Sometimes, I'm the sole-coder, sometimes I'm analysing or compiling technical information, sometimes I'm preparing technical data and presentations.

When you work on cross-functional teams, it's hard to keep the rest informed about the details of what you are doing.

But what if I get 'hit by a bus'? How should I work in a team where I'm the only technical contributor to avoid problems from a sudden departure?

A : A sudden departure will always have an effect on any team. But there are simple processes you can put in place to ensure an easy transition.

1) Document your day-to-day processes

A record of what your day/week looks like is a good beginning. It doesn't need to be exhaustive, but it should give a detailed rundown about key events (stand-ups, meetings, project deadlines etc). The idea is if someone reads the document, they would have a solid grounding for what happens in your team on a daily basis.

2) Create a shared resource for team-based communications

Remember that email that got sent to the whole team? Or that action point from that random meeting? Nope? Anything that is communicated by email, meetings, Slack, or by any other means should be noted and documented somehow. It could be through a shared folder, a Wiki or any document that's readily accessible. That ensures all individuals have access to the same information.

3) Document problems and how you got to the solutions

You've probably encountered an issue that took a lot of time and effort to resolve. The last thing anyone wants is to be stung by the same issue again once you've departed. Whenever you fix a problem, make sure you note down what the problem was and your process for fixing it. This is particularly pertinent when working with legacy systems, where new versions are being released but not used in your product.

In essence, you need to ensure there's enough information available for someone to get a decent lay of the land.

Just make sure you look both ways when crossing the street.

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