Project Management

IT Project Lessons from Titanic (Part 10)

Durham Highlands Chapter

In recapping Titanic's situation, following the collision (Part 8) the ship appeared to be in remarkably good shape. No one had been injured and from the bridge the integrity of the ship appeared to be sound. White Star Director Bruce Ismay was hell bent on saving face--and his company's reputation (Part 9). At 11:50 p.m., 10 minutes after the collision, Ismay pushed to restart the ship and limp Titanic off the ice shelf. Passengers, unaware of any dangers, later testified their initial relief that the ship was restarting the journey again, with little concern about the collision, the potential damage and consequences.


In today's IT projects it is vital that Mean Time To Recovery (MTTR) procedures for the IT solution (see Part 9) are set up, prepared, planned and tested--in the project itself (Part 4) and "institutionalized" with the staff (operations groups/technical support). Data collected in the second "problem" quadrant (the four quadrants are: detection, determination, resolution and recovery) has to stand up to rigorous review.


Before a resolution or fix is applied into production, the team needs to assess the overall risk of proceeding with it. Executive intervention is handled like any other input and needs to stand up to careful examination so as not to further deteriorate the situation. Importantly, it needs to be challenged if it does not make sense, without…

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"Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining."

- Jeff Raskin