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TOPIC: Free PMP® Exam Sample Question

Free PMP® Exam Sample Question 4 months 4 days ago #25224

  • Arjie Maghanoy
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Recently, you promoted your star programmer, Sam, to lead the agile development team. Sam was a fantastic software coder, and you thought the promotion would mean that he could now share his expertise with the other development team members. However, you are surprised to learn that the performance of Sam in his new role is not meeting your expectations.

Which empirical rule did you forget while considering the promotion of Sam?

A. Expectancy theory
B. Halo effect
C. Pareto concept
D. Murphy's law

HINT: This management theory is also known as the 'Peter principle.

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Answer and Explanation
The correct answer is B.

The halo effect (also known as the Peter principle) states, "In a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his/her level of incompetence." Most project team members are motivated by an opportunity to grow, accomplish, and apply their professional skills to meet new challenges. Their achievements continuously promote them within an organization to a certain level until they are unable to perform. Sam might have risen to his incompetency level, which is what you have likely forgotten to consider while promoting him to lead the development team.

The topic of this question is only briefly mentioned in the PMBOK® Guide. However, the Project Management Professional (PMP)® Examination Content Outline (ECO) indicates that while there are some commonalities between the PMBOK® Guide and the ECO, the exam is not bound by the PMBOK® Guide. The list of enablers specified in the tasks of the ECO domains is not exhaustive either. The ECO assumes that prospective PMP aspirants are familiar with other sources of information/preparation, including but not limited to PMI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct, PMI’s Practice Standards (e.g., Scheduling, Earned Value Management, etc.); organizational behavior theories such as Tuckman’s Ladder, Theory X and Theory Y, Maslow's hierarchy of needs; commonly frowned upon project management practices, such as gold plating; and others. We intentionally have these questions in our simulator so that you would be better prepared for the real exam. PMP aspirants are encouraged to explore additional sources of information and/or to be familiar with them from their project management experience. The PMBOK® Guide is provided as a reference to indicate that the scenario refers to the Develop Team process.

Details for each option:

A. Expectancy theory
Incorrect. Expectancy theory is based on the concept that rewards should be given to workers (and is expected by workers) in relation to their performance and that the recipients deserve and want the rewards. Expectancy theory does not apply to this scenario.


B. Halo effect
Correct. The halo effect (also known as the Peter principle) is a management theory that posits a candidate's successful performance in their current position is not a true indicator of how they will perform in a new role. That is, the skill set required for the intended role needs to be considered because being a strong performer in one role does not necessarily transfer to being a strong performer in another role.



C. Pareto concept
Incorrect. The 'Pareto concept' is a made-up term. There is, however, a Pareto principle or diagram used in project management based on the 80/20 rule. This principle has little to do with the scenario described.

D. Murphy's law
Incorrect. Murphy's law states, "anything that can go wrong will go wrong." It has nothing to do with the scenario described.

Reference: A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) – Sixth Edition, Project Management Institute Inc., 2017, Page(s) 336-344

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