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Getting Hit By a Bus
While I think that managing for the contingency of the death or disability of engineers is wise, I don't think that should be the guiding issues regarding project management issues. I have seen countless projects fail because people who have never written a line of code take over the management of a project. The fact is that I have never seen a project run by such people work effectively. On the other hand, I have never seen a project fail because of a programmer getting hit by a bus. I'm not saying that it can't happen, I'm saying that such events are far less common than the problem of armies of clueless "helpers" being added to manage programming projects and proceeding to make it impossible to get a good product out on time. Here's a rule: You can't manage the work of people whose work you can't do. Here's another: You can't help people do work that you can't do yourself. The exception to the second rule is in the case where they are telling you what to do, and other the other way around.