I think this is a detailed and dramatic introductory chapter for a book about project management.
Smaller business tend to ignore basic rules of management, especially if managers see themselves first as developers or engineers with the focus on the product itself.
Management is managing people, know how they tick, their limits, their incentives, how to set goals, define scope and measure performance. Rick’s story is a story about the lack of management.
Rick is like Frankenstein’s monster the failure of his maker, in this case not only the project manager, but management in total. There are things or the lack of things which you can see from the beginning, you do not have to wait until the villager with their torches storm the castle.
Fortunately there was enough money and customer goodwill left to develop and deliver a project.