we are a small company with about 100 employees. Our department consists of three people. Our bus factor is as close to 1 as it can get. I know for certain, that a colleague will be leaving in october, but won't tell the company until midst of september.

How to prepare for the imminent impact?

I've taken the following steps:

  • Prepare an job advertisment which can't go public until he informs the company
  • Try to participate in his daily work/projekts which is not really possible, because management is expecting to deliver current projects
  • Asking him to document everything, which does also not work, because he wants to finish his running projects for a good testimonial

Telling the management/company is not an option for me.

  • 2
    Does the person leaving know that you know? Aug 6, 2018 at 21:20
  • 12
    why is this your problem?
    – Kilisi
    Aug 6, 2018 at 21:24
  • 1
    Management will expect that at least everything will continue as it is, which is not possible right now. They'll also expect, that features with high priority will ship, this is also not possible. They know, that we can't substitute each other but do not accept it.
    – J. Doe
    Aug 6, 2018 at 21:31
  • 2
    Yes, but me and my other colleague will be hold responsible. Meaning less bonus, more stress, worse testimonial if we choose to leave during the chaos.
    – J. Doe
    Aug 6, 2018 at 21:35
  • 3
    then it's a bad company, the manager should be the one responsible, it's their job
    – Kilisi
    Aug 6, 2018 at 21:36

4 Answers 4


All you have at the moment is hearsay.

If you really want to take it seriously then analyse how it will affect the tasks you are responsible for and do what you can to mitigate.

The rest is not your problem, it's the role of management to ensure that everything continues to run, and they will have the notice period to do it in. You may be consulted then. There is no need to act prior to the leaving becoming official.


This is not your problem. Your colleague did you no favors when (s)he told you this.

Point #1 is this is a management problem. The company should already have plans in place if 1/3 of a small team should leave for any reason. What would the company do if someone won the lottery? Was hit by a bus? Just quit? The answer should be the same for all of these.

Point #2. You colleague is being very unprofessional here. They should not have told you. They are putting the problem on you - which is not your job. They should tell the company now so the company can start the replacement process and have some time for knowledge transfer and cross-training. I know that the normal notice is two weeks. However, by them telling you they made their leaving your problem. You're going to have to clean up the mess left behind.

  • 3
    You're suggesting the colleague should give the company over 2 months notice? That's a common way to become unemployed 2 months earlier than planned. Aug 7, 2018 at 13:59

Realistically, nothing should be too different.

The things that reduce a bus factor from 1.001 to 2 are the things you should do regardless of whether or not the employee is quitting or not.'

Asking him to document everything, which does also not work, because he wants to finish his running projects for a good testimonial

If your management doesn't value or prioritize this, then ultimately it's going to basically suck for everyone involved. You will feel this the most.

Basically, this needs to be considered important regardless of whether someone is leaving or not.

IF your colleague leaves then things will be in place. But ultimately that benefit is mostly present regardless of whether someone leaves or not.

There's not much else you can do short of breaking your colleagues trust. And for all you know something will change and that decision (which is still a ways out) will not come to be.


1) I hope you didn't prepare that job advertisement on the company IT infrastructure. Even if you set it to private / unpublished it might be found. Are you even authorized to hire?

2) Usually there is a notice period for which your colleague will remain employed after he handed in his/her resignation. That is the time to prepare officially.

3) Rightfully you're concerned that your workload will rise but short of management hiring new personnel, your team will have to compensate and (if/when appropriate) push back on unrealistic expectations.

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