Project Management and the Discovery of the Titanic
The former is the last time that the lands of the Titanic saw her because she sank beneath the tranquil Atlantic Ocean on this fateful night and the latter is the next time she was seen on the bottom of the Atlantic at a depth over 2.5 miles by an expedition led by Dr. Robert Ballard.
Early on the morning of this discovery Dr. Ballard’s team aboard the research vessel, the Knorr, scanned the seabed in the area called to have become the site of the sinking 73 years earlier. The search was conducted using a sled like apparatus known as “Argo”, which was laden with TV cameras and hammered just over the sea bed looking for debris from the wreck. The pictures sent back into the ship were seen “live” by a little booth on the Knorr, watched for hours and hours by the ever alert scientists. The search settled down into persistent forth and back sweeps of the sea floor, known as “mowing the lawn”.
Early in the morning of September 1st, 1985, the bottom of the seabed looked to be a little different from usual-instead of the never ending curves and ripples of this mud and sand, unusual marks, coupled with small chunks of what were clearly man-made debris began to appear before the amazed scientists that had been glued to their screens. Before long, larger items came into perspective, such as the Titanic’s enormous boiler. The Titanic, elusive for so long and considered to be always a part of the last was now a portion of their current.
Without it, the renowned boat would not have been uncovered.
Step 1. Obtain top Alastair Majury management support and set metrics. The job seekers who fully supported the partnership were the Woods Hole Deep Submergence Lab along with the French Institute Francais de Recherche pour l’Explotation.
Step 2. Select a competent project manager
Both had extensive experience in previous attempts to find the doomed boat.
Step 3. Select competent project team members and establish project metrics
Scientists were handpicked for this research mission with huge experience in this discipline and great knowledge in using the state-of-the artwork underwater visual-imaging technology that eventually made finding the boat potential.
Step 4. The project manager clearly recorded to the project group members the project scope, company aims and expectations-that was-find the Titanic!!!
Step 5. Ensure adequate resource allocation
Prior to the search start on the Knorr it had been verified with the patrons regarding what resources could be required including cash, personnel equipment and time. Since this was likely to be possibly very costly and time consuming a detailed outline was presented to the patrons for their review and acceptance.
Step 6. Develop a comprehensive project plan
On a daily basis there were innumerable tasks that had to be done before any search being done on the ocean floor. Project team members knew exactly who had been to finish each specific task as outlined by the project manager. And once all the equipment was prepared and the boat was at the correct search quadrant, project team members understood exactly who had to accomplish certain tasks to complete the hunt for that day.
Step 7. Establish adequate communication stations
The project manager was responsible to speak daily with all the project stakeholders. This advice included the status of the search with that day and what the upcoming steps would be completed the following day. The project manager also would speak directly to staff members regarding any issues, problems, concerns and successes.
Step 8. Initiate job control mechanisms
The project manager on a daily basis conducted project status meetings with the staff members to discuss any issues and successes in the prior day. Conflicts among team members were dealt with the afternoon of the issue from the project supervisor.
Step 9. The job supervisor created an environment with the project stakeholders so they could review project information and make suggestions to improve any project component. This maintained the Woods Hole Lab and the French Institute from insulating themselves from the project.
Measure 10. Celebrate project successes
Obviously, the discovery of the Titanic has been the biggest success. However, to have reached this ultimate goal there were lots of successes along the way including but not limited to the success of this technology that enabled the scientists to find the ship. Dr. Ballard and Mr. Jarry made certain the project team members were recognized for milestones and achievements attained. This was important for the group’s morale as they were at the Atlantic searching for 2 months before the Titanic was found.
Measure 11. Conduct job closeout
Finding the Titanic shut out of this part of the undertaking. But 12 months later, Dr. Ballard and his crew returned to the wreck site using a deep-sea submersible to view the Titanic first hand and close-up.
Since you can observe the discovering of the Titanic was due to a detailed and knowledgeable project manager, an experienced and job oriented project group and project sponsors that were as dedicated to this mission’s success as everybody else. These elements would be the fuel to success for any job.