26 March 2019
10 Pilgrim Street NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 6QG
  • 2019-03-26 18:00:00 2019-03-26 20:00:00 Europe/London Project management blunders - Titanic lessons for project managers Don't forget to book your place on the APM website! Tyneside Cinema, 10 Pilgrim Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 6QC Tyneside Cinema

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North East branch

Project management blunders - Titanic lessons for project managers

Tyneside Cinema, 10 Pilgrim Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 6QC

R.M.S. Titanic was considered by many, including its designers and builders, to be an unsinkable ship. With redundant safety systems that used the latest emerging technologies of the day, the ship was considered so safe that it did not even need a full complement of lifeboats.

Yet, a collision with an iceberg put an end to the ship on its maiden voyage and led to the deaths of thousands of passengers and crew. The sinking of Titanic is one of the worst maritime disasters ever.

Imagine you are in one of Titanic’s lifeboats just sighted by the rescue ship Carpathia. As you look back at the wreckage site, you wonder how such a disaster could have happened. What were the causes? How could things go so badly wrong? Why did she founder? No one had expected it.

This presentation analyses the project that designed, built, and launched the ship, showing how compromises made during early project stages led to serious flaws in this supposedly "perfect ship". In addition, the presentation explains how major mistakes during the early days of the ship's operations led to the disaster. All of these disastrous compromises and mistakes were fully avoidable.

Paying attention to how historical projects and emerging technologies of the past solved complex problems of the day provides some very valuable insights into how to solve today’s more challenging business problems.

The presentation highlights the lessons from Titanic’s project, and explains in layman's terms how to apply these to a project, so that we can learn how:

  • Important it is to bring a balance to the requirements management process, and avoid compromises
  • A meddling executive sponsor can unwittingly compromise the project even with well defined governance
  • To deliver a project successfully to a business today

Entertaining and full of intriguing historical details, the presentation helps business people see the impact of decisions similar to the ones that they make every day. It helps explain the story and to help drive home some simple lessons.


Titanic lessons for business is from the “Lessons from History” series. As the author behind the series, Mark Kozak-Holland brings years of experience as a consultant who helps Fortune-500 companies formulate projects that leverage emerging technologies. Since 1983 he has been straddling the business and IT worlds making these projects happen. He is a PMP, certified business consultant, the author of several books, and a noted speaker.

Mark has always been interested in tracing the evolution of technology and the three industrial revolutions of the last 300 years. Whilst recovering a failed financial services project, he first used the Titanic analogy to explain to project executives why the project had failed. The project recovery was going to take two years and $8m cost, versus the original $2m cost and one year duration.

As a historian, Mark seeks out the wisdom of the past to help others avoid repeating mistakes and to capture time-proven techniques. His lectures on the Titanic project have been very popular at gatherings of project managers and CIOs. 

This event is suitable for professionals with any level of experience.

Previous presentations and webinars can be viewed on the APM Slideshare and YouTube channels. Follow @APMEvents for upcoming event information.


APM Body of Knowledge 6th edition reference

Section Description
1.1.2 Programme management
1.1.7 Success factors and maturity
2.1.5 Leadership
3.1.6 Stakeholder management

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