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Titanic: Regulations Collide with Innovation

The Titanic was sunk by more than just an iceberg – it was sunk by the very regulations it exceeded. The sinking of the Titanic is certainly just as relevant now as it ever has been, and the reason is simple: it’s a shining example of man-made error and consequence. This blog article from Illuminea.com reflects on just a few more lessons that we can derive from the disaster in regards to project management. The Titanic actually had enough life boats—at least enough by the legal standards of the day. In the days of the Titanic, the number of lifeboats necessary was determined by ship weight. The Titanic observed this requirement to the letter, though it didn't make much sense given the number of passengers on board. The lesson? Don’t just think of what the standard rules are, think of what new considerations can bet developed to excel past just the required needs of business. Another lesson comes from the radio operator of the Titanic who was so busy relaying messages to New York for passengers that he told another radio operator—one who was trying to send him an iceberg warning—to shut up. There are two lessons the blog post brings up here: one, make sure you listen to what people are telling you; and two, make sure your customers aren't dictating your actions too much: Often clients can persuade us to focus on less important tasks instead of the core tasks of the project. Or they might want us to work in a way that we know from experience is at least somewhat detrimental to the project. We might be tempted to give into this because it’s easier to go along with their requests rather than “confront” the client and tell them what we think is best for their project. But, surprise surprise, the customer is not always right. And, shockingly, most clients actually do hire us for our professionalism which means that they need and very possibly even want to hear our professional opinions on whatever they are requesting of us. Other lessons include making sure people are properly equipped and comfortable with their jobs, making sure to communicate, and consider sensitive issues during and after the event takes place. While it’s hard to believe that the sinking of a ship one hundred years ago could have practical lessons for an IT leader today, this post proves out that the human element has played a huge role in success and failure in most of human history.

About Matthew Kabik

Matthew Kabik is the former Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success. He worked at Computer Aid, Inc. from 2008 to 2014 in the Harrisburg offices, where he was a copywriter, swordsman, social media consultant, and trainer before moving into editorial.

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