The Apprentice – Week Four: Stadium Sales

Oct 26, 2017 | #howtobeaPM, #howtowinthe apprentice, projects in plain english, the apprentice

Week four kicked off at Wembley Stadium, where Lord Sugar instructed the candidates to set up and run a corporate box and sell merchandise to fans at the Women’s FA Cup final.

Managing quality

The task highlighted one of the trickiest areas of project management, managing your customer’s quality expectations.

The first step in quality management is to identify who your customers are. This is usually a combination of the people who are paying for the project and the people who will use the end product. Lord Sugar had helpfully provided two corporate clients who wanted to impress their guests.

The second step is to identify exactly what your customers are looking for. This usually involves patient negotiation as sometimes the customers themselves are not sure. The trick is to turn a list of often vague requirements into measurable acceptance criteria.

Both teams had little to go on. After an initial meeting the only clearly measurable criterion was the budget. Neither client was prepared to pay more than £2,500. Apart from that the clients said they wanted their guests to have a good time and that was about it. It was left to the PMs to interpret exactly what they meant by a good time. But, crucially, if the clients weren’t happy they could demand their money back.

Credit: BBC

Identify who your customers are - Projects in Plain English
Team Vitaility consider how many snacks they can buy for less than a fiver…

How do you define quality?

The teams took a radically different approach. Siobhan relied on her experience as an event manager and decided that a good time meant top quality food and plenty of booze. The boys went for a strategy of shameless cost-cutting.

At the end of the day quality management is about delivering things that your customer agrees are fit for purpose. Amazingly the boys’ client told Lord Sugar that they were happy with what they were served: a buffet of pound shop snacks, a bar that ran dry within the first hour and a brave but slightly cringe-worthy Sinatra impression from Harrison.

Credit: BBC

Identify who your customers are - Projects in Plain English
Team Graphene ponder the number of  glasses they can get out of a bottle of wine…

The result

This week it was the girls who ended up drinking 90p coffee in the losers’ cafe. They can count themselves unlucky and Siobhan must regret not negotiating a sale or return deal on all that wine.



Credit: BBC

Identify who your customers are - Projects in Plain English
Elizabeth, Siobhan and Joanna. Unlucky to find themselves back in the Boardroom…

What are your thoughts on how this task went?

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