Project Management

IT Project Lessons from Titanic (Part 5)

Durham Highlands Chapter

Most people are very familiar with Titanic's story and the last two days of the voyage and 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. These were major investments on what appeared to be a solid business case but in fact did not cover all the risks adequately (see Part 2). Titanic's architects had many design choices and followed a strategy of incorporating all the latest and advanced safety technologies to provide the highest levels of safety. However, they made compromises to these safety features because of executive business pressure to create the ultimate passenger (first-class) experience (see Part 3).


We also looked at Titanic's sister ship Olympic and the role she played. Significantly, White Star deemed Olympic's track record adequate for launching an almost identical sister ship straight into service without extensive sea trials. However, this track record was far less than perfect with several incidents that haunted the captain and officers (see Part 4).


By the time the testing stage started, the perception that Titanic was invincible existed not only with the White Star staff but also the public. This, coupled with the ship owner's perception of Olympic's solid track …

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