The Project Notebook

PMP® Challenge Question – 1/15

There will be no new challenge question this week — the next one will be 2/1 and will start another PMP® Exam Prep Giveaway. Now here are the notes about the 1/1 Challenge:

Some of you are probably wondering about the 1/1 Challenge. How can watching a video about a comedian visiting 171 Starbucks in Manhattan possibly be related to the PMP® exam? Well the answer is quite simple. A good percentage of the PMP exam is devoted to basic definitions (used to be about 40% but I’m not certain of the current mix) – not all the questions are application-of-PM based. You might need, for example, to identify what phases or knowledge areas to which tasks and activities belong.

What I found extraordinary about the story and video behind 171 Starbucks was the extreme planning which had to go into it and the representation of all project phases (not to mention all knowledge areas). If you see more items or wonder about the coverage of knowledge areas, feel free to drop me a comment in this post or email

Diligent research – consulted with others attempting a broader scope and achieved success by initiating a project with lesser scope. The folks who try to visit all the Starbucks in the US or world are met with the challenge of frequent store openings after they visit a region. This project was confined to one region and a 24-hour period to mitigate the issue of explosive growth.

You should have noticed the team meeting and the maps.
Routing and alternates were examined.
They had to determine which stores were open to the public and which were closed to public access.
Transportation was considered.
Documentation was considered – a documented purchase and partially consumed product at each store. This provided project standards and metrics.
Consideration for how much cash would be required.
Human resources had to be considered – how would someone be at each location to film?

Mark was carrying a checklist and maps that resulted from the plan.
Bicycled and drove to stores, making a purchase at each one.
Someone was at each location to document.

A car was brought in when Mark grew tired of cycling.
Negotiated (successfully) with stores closing off advertised schedule.
Someone was at each location to document.
Kept careful track – they knew some stores were visited twice accidentally.

Added up the final budget.
Reported on quality.
Starbucks followed up on excessive payment for pound cake at closing store.
Celebrated victory.
Published results for historical purposes.

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Category: PMP® Challenge Question


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