Key Failure Points and Appropriate Approaches to Project Management

Many people are drawn to the Titanic story because of its cutting-edge technology at the time.

Nonetheless, the debris from 1912 indicates certain areas of failure in design, testing, and operation.

First, the ship was not built in such a way that damaged pieces, such as the propeller, could not be easily changed.

This made restoring the ship to her original state following the 1911 accident and 1912 wreck impossible.

Second, Ismay who served as the chairperson and the MD of White Star Line that made the ship recommended for additional structural adjustments that were not planned for in the design phase (Kozak, 2012).

For instance, he initiated the change of the first class accommodation to accommodate additional 100 persons.

The same would translate to difficulty in the control of the ship given the possibility of overload.

Additionally, there was an expansion in the play area capacity, but without effective adjustment in the space dimensions.

Regarding the test, the ship did not undergo sufficient period of testing after the 1912 wreckage.

In fact, the time was cut from 8 weeks to a half a day just to enable the ship to take a business trip.

The failure to do an appropriate test put the ship at the risk of developing unsuspected problems.

Meanwhile, the mistakes under operations included the desire to outmatch the Olympic on voyage time by taking the ice prone route just to reduce the traveling distance.

At the point of the 1912 wreckage, the ship crew had ignored the systems iceberg warning signals.

The ship also moved at a high speed that would make it hard to control in the case of emergency (Kozak, 2012).

Also, the persons in charge failed to fill the lifeboats on time after the wreckage citing that the ship could not sink before the arrival of a rescue vessel.

Strategies to Identify Project Managers and Sponsors

One needs to consider the profession of a project manager before the engagement.

For the case of the Titanic, it would be proper to choose a person who has the knowledge and experience in ship building.

That would ensure that the leader would understand every detail within the project's processes (Portny, 2013).

A potential manager should also prove not to be easily manipulated to do things that are not appropriate at any given phase of the project.

For instance, Ismay is seen to make mistakes in initiating changes to the Titanic's design without taking note of the initial plan, thus, putting the ship at a risk of losing control.

On the other hand, the sponsors should be those who are not in a hurry to obtain returns from their investments.

Otherwise, they will put a lot of pressure on the management to repay the loans after completion of the project.

In such a case, the operations managers such as Ismay might resort to inappropriate ways of generating cash (Portny, 2013).

For instance, Titanic's management failed to provide sufficient lifeboats as well as binoculars probably because they believed that the ship could not sink and also as a way to minimize costs of operations.

Relevance of a Project Charter

A project charter is necessary for an undertaking such as the building of the Titanic.

The document would identify all the stakeholders as well as specify their roles, thereby, increasing the level of commitment and minimizing the chances of interference with one's duties such as the project manager having to dictate inappropriate adjustments on a design (Portny, 2013).

It would further help in outlining the project objectives that helps guide the operations of the team.

The listing of the short-term goals further motivates the workers to achieve the target specifications and on time.

Additionally, the spelled authority of the project manager further ensures order and acceptance of command from the leader (Kloppenborg, 2015).

Apparently, the absence of the charter is less desirable because there would be no written commitment to undertaking any duty, thus, encouraging non-commitment to one's mandate.

Components of the Project Plan to ensure Success

A successful project should incorporate effective elements that include the description of the need, the outline of aims, outcomes, outputs, inputs, and monitoring and evaluation.

The project's need is necessary as it proves that the project is required and would resolve some particular problem such as improved sea transportation.

Therefore, such undertakings can only make sense if they are meant to solve specific problems.

The aims show the description of what the project team wants to achieve, thus, guiding the operations of the project work (Kloppenborg, 2015).

The outcomes lay out the particular differences or improvements from the existing facilities of the same kind.

Listing down the anticipated results help ensure that the project work focuses on creating a difference.

The outputs show the final products of the project.

The description further assists the workers in remaining focused on delivering the expected item.

Additionally, the inputs identify the project's requirements regarding materials, labor, and other facilitators such as machinery and building premises (Portny, 2013).

Finally, monitoring and evaluation describe the information that the management would collect and how they would evaluate it to determine the level of success of the project.

It facilitates the undertaking of necessary adjustments to help keep the project on track.

Steps of Identifying Project Team and the Type of Members

The selection of a project's team members should first see the analysis and breakdown of the tasks into components and note down the necessary skills to complete such work.

Next is the listing of the particular requirements for the tasks such as quality and the deadline to help in obtaining the right personnel.

After that, the project manager needs to liaise with the human resource staff to help identify the employees who possess the required knowledge and qualities (Kloppenborg, 2015).

Lastly, the leader should pick the workers with the appropriate mix of skills through consultation with the supervisors so as to ensure that the project absorbs those who have the needed abilities and will cooperate in the entire duration.

Regarding the types of team members, a project manager should ensure that those chosen have the knowledge to undertake the specific assigned tasks.

The team members also need to be those who have the relevant experience and a history of cooperation in their previous assignments.

Also, it is necessary to have those with varied skills who can demonstrate the ability to multitask whenever they are called upon (Mir & Pinnington, 2014).

Such qualities will help obtain a highly knowledgeable, skilled, and cooperative team.

Overall, the fatal accident of the Titanic Ship in 1912 came as a result of design, testing, and operation mistakes.

The chances of such an occurrence might have reduced if the White Star Line employed effective ways of identifying the project manager and sponsors, and by using the charter that would guide the entire work.

Moreover, it would be necessary to choose the right personnel and to stay committed to the components of the project's plan without the need to create unnecessary adjustments such as the increase in carrying capacity without even following the right procedure.



Kloppenborg, T. J. (2015). Contemporary project management: Organize, plan, perform. Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.

Kozak, M. H. (2012). Titanic - Project Management Blunders. Retrieved on 23rd May, 2017

Mir, F. A., & Pinnington, A. H. (2014). Exploring the value of project management: linking project management performance and project success. International Journal of Project Management, 32(2), 202-217.

Portny, S. E. (2013). Project management for dummies. Hoboken, N.J: John Wiley & Sons.

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