The “Hit by a bus” syndrome

As a independent software developer I often get confronted by the question: “What do we do if you get hit by a bus?” The snappy answer is “Are you kidding ? With this traffic (and my pay-grade) , you won’t catch me anywhere near a bus – I’ll take a cab !”
But off course the costumer means: “What can we do if you suddenly dies / disappear/ retire and leave us in a lurch with no support or means for further development ?”

After answering the same questions dozens of times I’ll try to sum up the situation (and keeping my blood pressure down at the same time):

  • I probably won’t be hit by a bus, a heart attack is more likely for a man my age. I’ll try to stay fit and eat healthly food for your sake (and mine…)
  • All my work is open source – no exception – preferably located on a server with public access, ex. GitHub.
  • Besides the usual system documentation and user-guides, the source code will always be supplemented with instructions on how to build and install the software.
  • I’ll won’t accept to develop more complex software systems than a single experienced developer on short notice can understand and work with.
    I actually have a list of “stand-in’s”, people I know and trust, that has the same skill-set and -level as I have (My wife or kids will send it to you after my demise)
  • I’ll never ask for any large sum of money up front for development work. The normal procedure is a bill for finished work after it’s done, not before.
  • And – snarkily – in most cases, you’re not better off with a large company: The employee turnover is normally so high that it’s unlikely you’ll get the same developer team second time around. But you will get a higher amount of administrative overhead (and a larger bill).

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