Project Management

IT Project Lessons from Titanic (Part 8)

Durham Highlands Chapter

In recapping the situation, Titanic's early warning system had failed because of the failure to report problems with key feedback mechanisms (see Part 7), possibly because of the fear of reprisal. This, coupled with general over-confidence in the safety of the ship (see Part 4), apathy to the fate of the French Liner Niagara (see Part 6), and inaccurate information on the extent of the giant ice field (see Part 7) led to a state of gross indifference. Finally, Ismay's pressure and new SLO (see Part 5) pushed Titanic to her highest speed and past her operational limits.


Titanic was heading for a collision. In fact, it was almost inevitable. The ship, at its maximum speed, raced through icy still waters littered with small bergs and pieces of ice. The lookouts, without binoculars and a freezing wind hitting their eyes, were trying to outline the horizon through the haze common in these conditions. As they struggled to make out the shape of a dark mass looming in front of them they delayed reporting this to the bridge.


The lesson for today's IT projects is that in monitoring a newly operational solution, operations staff needs to be very familiar with it. They need to be in a position to proactively prevent failures from happening in the first place and ensure it meets its service levels. They need good visibility into the solution and surrounding environment around it. …

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"I'm glad I did it, partly because it was worth it, but mostly because I shall never have to do it again."

- Mark Twain