Definite's Extractor

My findings on Life, Linux, Open Source, and so on.

Introducing Bus Factor


The Bus factor measures the degree of the knowledge sharing. High number means the knowledge is well shared. For example, bus factor 10 means 10 team members need to be “neutralized” to stop the project working.

This lead to the following issue: How to introduce it to your team members.
Even it is called *bus factor* does not mean you should introduce as such.

I still remember when one of my colleague explaining the idea:

Consider when you are hitting by a bus …

My real feeling on that time was:

Are you trying to curse me?

That’s right. It triggers all negative feeling and reaction. In other words, that will not help knowledge sharing.

A good way to get around this is terming it with holiday factor instead. Ah, holiday, this associate with more pleasant mood, thus make the concept much easier to be delivered and heard. And, hey, we do need to consider the impact of long holidays like Christmas and Chinese New Year.

Using holiday factor also deliver following message:

If you do not share, we may need to call you in the most inconvenient time …

So, using holiday factor is more acceptable, realistic and passive aggressive. 🙂

Yet, everything has it own limitation, and the “bus factory” is no exception. One of my respected colleague, Seth Vidal, was indeed killed in car accident, and his project, yum, is postponed. However, dnf takes its place and has been adopted by Fedora community since Fedora 22.

2 responses to “Introducing Bus Factor

  1. stormmaster83 2017/02/01 at 12:59 am

    A friend of mine likes to use “lottery factor”: how many people would have to win the lottery (thus becoming wealthy enough to not work anymore and quit abruptly) for the project to stop working.


    • dingyichen 2017/02/04 at 1:02 am

      I also saw that in wikipedia. It also triggers happy imagination.

      However, it also implies that you don’t really want to work here. And if you introduce this as “lottery factor”, you are quite likely to hear:

      I win the lottery! Who cares about the hand over and mess cleaning? Good bye, poor and unfortunately souls. 🙂


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