Another Tricky Question from the PMP Exams (And Why 99% of People Fail It)

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Last week Monday I shared a PMP question that NOBODY had gotten right (in my presence).

Today, I'll share yet another one. The difference between the two is; people get this one right, but after more than one trials or after really thinking hard.

The reason for the difficulty in answering both questions is that the correct answers are counter-intuitive and almost "offensive" to normal, regular reasoning. Remember the first? The Project Manager John that felt he had no time, yet had to properly analyze ALL RISKS and plan an adequate response to them?

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Today's question would perhaps be all the more shocking, but pay attention, because hidden behind these tricky questions and answers are the fundamental and unshakable principles of project management.

Let's deal with the second question:

Question: 
You are managing a software development project, and one of the developers tells you that he added a new feature that he heard the sponsor talking about in a hallway conversation. The developer did the work after hours and it does add a lot of value to the solution. How should you manage this?

Options:

A) Thank the developer for his hard work and communicate this as a ‘win’ in your next status report.

B) Document this as a Change Request and follow the Change Control process to ensure it is documented and approved.

C) As there were no costs incurred from the work and no schedule impact, you do not need to do anything.

D) Tell the developer to immediately back the change out as it was not approved and explain that any scope changes must be reviewed and approved before implementation.

What's your answer?

The correct answer is (D)

A) Thank the developer for his hard work and communicate this as a ‘win’ in your next status report.

B) Document this as a Change Request and follow the Change Control process to ensure it is documented and approved.

C) As there were no costs incurred from the work and no schedule impact, you do not need to do anything.

D) Tell the developer to immediately back the change out as it was not approved and explain that any scope changes must be reviewed and approved before implementation.

Why? I'll tell you.

One of your primary responsibility as a project manager is to protect the project baselines (scope, cost and time) and other project boundaries from unapproved and arbitrary changes.

All changes must go through the formal change control process and be approved by the CCB (Change Control Board) before they are implemented. It's a rule. A standard rule or principle of Project Management.

The fact that the developers work added a lot of value, without cost or schedule impact doesn't mean it has to go through, because even though he technically did the right thing, he didn't do it the right way.

So what happens to other nice options like A), B), and C)? Well, I'll tell you. If you congratulate this "oversabi" developer, do a change request later and communicate it as a win, you start giving encouragement to indiscipline and arbitrariness on your project.

Don't complain when another "oversabi" developer makes another unapproved addition to the baselines that makes the project fail, because you encouraged him by not correcting the first "oversabi" developer.

Hoped this answer made you smile? Please don’t go looking for the word “oversabi” in your English Dictionary.

Cheers! Enjoy your midweek. If you choose to see a movie this evening, I hope you run into me.