Project Management

IT Project Lessons from Titanic (Part 16)

Durham Highlands Chapter
Was there a conspiracy?
 
Having collected all the possible evidence in the form of metrics (Part 15), the U.S. inquiry into the Titanic disaster proceeded to reconstruct the event timeline right up to the point of impact and beyond. It was (and still is) standard naval practice to keep a running “Ship’s log” on board a ship--a documentation of all sea and weather conditions, and all events carefully recorded, for all eventualities and situations like an inquiry.
 
In today’s world, this is still step 1 of the post-mortem--namely, the discovery of what went wrong and what should have (or have not) happened but did (or did not). For this step, you need to collect the evidence (metrics) and build the timeline of events.
 
One of the challenges for the U.S. inquiry was the ability to detain witnesses for a prolonged length of time. Specifically, the British crew of White Star employees, who had to be subpoenaed, received no salary when on shore in New York. Therefore, the U.S. inquiry had to get to the root cause quickly and gather information. This was a problem as some information would only reveal itself after several interviews. Other information would seem irrelevant at first but become essential once patterns emerged.
 
In the U.S. inquiry, the following expert testimonies were identified:
 
Extract from the testimony of Captain James Henry Moore:
 
“My theory …

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"A statesman is an easy man, he tells his lies by rote. A journalist invents his lies and rams them down your throat. So stay at home and drink your beer and let the neighbors vote!"

- W.B. Yeats