Project Management

IT Project Lessons from Titanic (Part 3)

Durham Highlands Chapter

Most people are very familiar with Titanic's story from movies or documentaries that focus on the last two days of the voyage and the last hours of the disaster itself. But little is known about the four-year construction project, the project stages and their significance in the disaster.


Let us go back to 1909 and re-examine White Star's project to build three super liners based on new emerging technologies. These were major investments as the liners were likely to be in service for at least 20 years based on what appeared to be a solid business case, but in fact did not cover the risks adequately (see Part 2).


Titanic's architects had many design choices and from the outset they followed a business strategy to maximize passenger comfort rather than speed of passage. They never envisaged breaking the blue ribbon record for crossing the Atlantic in record time. This adjustment meant the ship could be built with a broad "U" shaped hull rather than a sleek and fast "V" shaped hull. This increased the ship's volume by 23 percent, and as a result larger and more comfortable first- and second-class suites and cabins would greatly enhance the passenger experience.


Likewise today you can copy your competition's approach or use new emerging technologies to gain advantage and try something different, like exploit a niche in the marketplace with a far better economic payback.…

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