The Apprentice – Week Two: Hotel Redesign

Oct 12, 2017 | #howtobeaPM, #howtowinthe apprentice, projects in plain english, the apprentice

In week two Lord Sugar summons the candidates to Stoke Park, a five-star country hotel just down the road from Pinewood Studios. The hotel’s golf course was the location for the most famous game of golf in cinematic history when Sean Connery’s James Bond outwitted Ulric Goldfinger.

The project team

The teams discover they won’t be playing golf but will need to transform a bedroom at the hotel and pitch their makeover to the hotel manager and a professional interior designer.

This was a tough task for the candidates, especially in week two. It highlighted the different roles that need to be covered by a project team, and the importance of them all pulling together for the good of the project.

Credit: BBC

Team roles - Projects in Plain English
So Mr. Bond, I think you’re going to need plenty of balls today…

Product development

Technical expertise is essential for the teams involved in product development in any project. Unfortunately, neither team appeared to have any interior design talent. The girls channelled the spirit of Goldfinger and opted for a golf theme for their room. The boys went for an all-British theme based around the national colours of err… yellow, white and blue. Both teams produced mood boards that wouldn’t have looked out of place as collages on the arts and crafts wall of a primary school classroom. And their painting and decorating skills weren’t much better.

Credit: BBC

Team roles - Projects in Plain English
Nice straight lines Harrison, but yellow doesn’t feature prominently in the Union Jack…

Roles

Other key project roles were included in this episode. The people paying for the project need to have a say in its outcome, as do the people who will be using the final product. These two interests were represented by the hotel manager and a professional designer. Neither was impressed by the candidates’ efforts. Not only did the two rooms look a mess, they were completely impractical. There was nowhere to put your clothes apart from a stack of overpriced vintage suitcases that the boys sourced from an antique dealer who obviously saw them coming.

Credit: BBC

Team roles - Projects in Plain English
A stack of old suitcases. A must have in any well-appointed hotel room…

The result

In the end it was the undervalued role of project support that let the boy’s team down and saw them back in the Boardroom for the second week running. A sensible PM knows that they can’t do everything themselves and, if they have the resources, will allocate an administrative role to someone who is not immersed in the detail of the technical work.

It’s not a glamorous job but someone has to do it: maintaining the files, knowing where things are and keeping an eye on the budget. For the girls Elizabeth willingly took on the role, if a little grumpily. Jeff was given the same task on the boy’s team but would rather have been breakdancing. His reluctant number crunching was definitely not up to scratch and Lord Sugar decided that his under-par performance was unworthy of a potential business partner.

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How did you think the hotel redesign task went?

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