Bus factor? What on Earth is the bus factor? OK not trying to be all doom and gloom but do you know how your business would carry on if one of the main team members was hit by a bus?
As a child always remember being told to make sure I wore clean underwear in case I was run over by a bus. What is this obsession with the bus and how we all could die under the wheels of the bus!!
Let’s not just blame buses for all accidents but instead look at it as a sudden, possibly unpreventable accident with no warning signs. a pure accident…
Do you need to prepare your business for a hit by a bus event? But how as a business can you prepare and become bus factor proof?
Bus factor refers to how does your business survive if one, two even three members of the team “gets hit by a bus.”
Named the “Bus Factor” because if these people were hit by a bus how would the business cope?
The bus factor is a measurement of risk resulting from the loss of knowledge, skills, connections, business methodologies and all those unique skills that each person brings to the table. Every team has a number of key members, who would be difficult to replace.
How critical is each person to the business success? How many people would it take before your business suffered?
The simple way to calculate the bus factor for your team or business is to ask yourself:
“How many people would need to be off to prevent work from continuing as normal?”
If work could not continue with the absence of just one specific key person, you have a bus factor of 1.
The higher the bus factor means you can continue working without dependence on specific people.
Are you worried about making plans or can you muddle on and get through?
Right now think of everyone working within your business and that knowledge that has helped build and grow the business. This is not all documented but stored in people’s heads.
Is someone a single source truth and knowledge on a certain subject or only a person that has a skill that no one else in the team or the department has? Would there be someone who knows enough about what that key person does to take over?
How would it affect business if a key person was hit by a bus? Is your business knowledge bus proof? Are you prepared for the bus factor?
So what knowledge do you have within your business which you might not realise is a business asset.
Well its tacit knowledge, the extensive pool of knowledge within the business which needs to be harnessed for the future. The experience and skills of your employees can be passed on to their colleagues and successors.
This knowledge could be invaluable in setting you apart from your competitors.
The biggest challenge is gathering this knowledge in a central location so it can be used in a productive way. Consider the benefits of capturing and being able to use this knowledge more effectively in day to day work life?
If you exclude thinking about a worst-case scenario risk management side of things. Just capturing and documenting business processes can benefit a business.
Giving teams a single source of truth to be able to refer to. Which offers the best way to complete a task or business process as its been documented by the people with the most knowledge.
Think about how productivity could benefit from shared knowledge and expertise. Someone already knows the best way to get things done so why not share that with everyone so it always gets done the best way every time. Saving time, money and most important giving customers the best service you can offer.
Whether you are planning for sickness, staff leaving or the dreaded bus factor scenario or a major event and continuity planning.
Documenting your business process to share knowledge can help increase productivity, reduce errors, manage workflow, improve collaboration all whilst guaranteeing things get done how you want every time!
Plan for the bus factor and document business processes to increase productivity.
Bus Factor Plan
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