Bus Factor Blues: What Happens When Your MVP Gets Hit by a Bus?

Mitigating the risks of losing your most vital players

Ilro Lee


Photo by Michal Collection on Canva

Recently, our small but rapidly growing data analytics team lost our senior data scientist, Amelia — the technical brains behind our innovative product. When Amelia announced she was leaving to join another agency, I panicked. Her sudden departure threatened to derail our entire service roadmap. If I could repeat the situation, I would have mitigated this key man risk long before her jarring two-week notice. I would have cross-trained other engineers in her specialized skills, documented tribal knowledge, and groomed a successor. Losing our star staff Amelia slammed our operations, stalling new features for months as her expertise walked out the door. The entire ordeal taught me firsthand the importance of minimizing reliance on any solo superstar — as brilliant as they may be. Organizations need resilience against the inevitable churn of cherished human capital. Here is what I wish I had done ahead of time to manage key man risk…

Identify Key Positions and Employees

The first step is to objectively determine which roles and employees are truly vital to the organization’s performance and prospects. These might be C-suite leaders responsible for strategy, vision, and…