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Project Delivery and The Titanic

Updated: Mar 4, 2021

When you think of what qualifies as a project, it is unlikely that the Titanic is your first thought. However, Mark Kozak-Holland draws together his skills as a historian and project consultant to explore the disaster of The Titanic ship as a failed project. From analysing mistakes made in the early stages of a project to planning for disaster recovery, Titanic Lessons for IT Projects takes a look back at the lessons we can learn from history.

Kozak-Holland refers to ‘The Titanic Project’, a project that concludes in a catastrophic failure, as a shared experience for most organizations. Distinguishing between the different ways in which a project can fail, Kozak-Holland identifies the particularly insidious failure of The Titanic Project. Whilst many projects fail in the relatively early stages before completion, or when implementation is attempted, some fail weeks or even months after the project is considered complete. However, if failure only becomes apparent much later, often the team members involved have returned to their day-to-day roles and it is much more difficult to locate the root of the problem.

As outlined in our methodology, whether a project is successful or not, it is crucial to complete a comprehensive review and post-project analysis. Without this essential stage, the same issues will likely reoccur in future projects, leading to further financial loss and disappointment. It is at this stage that an external consultant can be an invaluable resource. These failures are often the most critical as the source of failure becomes increasingly challenging to identify, particularly for those involved in the much earlier stages of the project. As Kozak-Holland looks back at the failure of The Titanic, a fresh perspective can come in to identify where the project went wrong and enable future success.

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