Gold plating question - urgent



I was doing the Rita questions and I found this question, which I still feel that the correct answer is wrong


Q: At the end of a project, a project manager determines the project  has added four areas of functionality, three areas of performance, the customers has expressed his satisfaction with the project, what does this means in terms of the success of the project?


A the project was an unqualified success 


B  the project was unsuccessful  


C the project was successful because the customer being happy means they would have paid for the work 


D the project was successful because the team had a chance to learn new areas functionality and the customer was satisfied




I have chosen Answer A but Rita fast track says B.  Im not getting it>why the project will be unsuccessful if the an extra functionality was delivered and the customer is happy and propabbly accepted the deliverables? Can glod plating make the project fail, Yes but in this case the cusomter accepted it?



Thanks to Rita. This is not a question on gold plaiting but rather question on ethical and professional conduct.

The short story:
1. Everything that glitters is not gold
2. Justice should never be seen from happiness

Long story:
Success and failure is judge by two parameters:
1. Customer acceptance
2. Project technical success

When it comes to business you talk about money i.e. profit and loss. You delivered extra to your customer and he was happy infact more than a happy. From business side, it’s successful as you were able to get money out of the work you did.

Think from ethical side now, your customer paid for 5 units of work and you delivered him 6. You bought a bus ticket for 10$ to travel 10 miles but using the same ticket you traveled 12 miles. Question yourself, does these show ethical conduct?

Making money is one aspect, giving justice to goal and objective is another. Just because someone is happy, it does not mean he is right. I can steal 1000$ and be happy, am I right?

Saket, PMP

what does unqualified success mean? is that same as unsuccessful?


so does this  mean if we change the word functionality in the question and add the word features then it becomes gold plating? And the project is successful?


Let’s not go by keywords and find dictionary meaning for it. PMP questions are not framed using dictionary keywords, they are scenario based having some learning and lesson.

Understand two things, a project success is measured by two parameters:
1. Business --- think from money making side
2. Project Objective --- think from ethical side

In the above question no one is denying the fact that the project is successful from business objective as the customer has happily accepted your deliverable, rather more than what he paid to you for.

However the project objective from ethical side has failed because you did not delivered what was asked for, you gave something extra and it’s qualified as ethically wrong. PMI documents very clearly i.e. when it comes to ethical and professional conduct have zero tolerance and considering this aspect I would see the project success from ethical side and not from business side.

Simple rule, when it comes to ethics, do not compromise!

Saket, PMP

 I understand the your point and it does make sense if you look at it from Ethical side , however Rita's explanation  was that "Gold plating a project wastes time and probably cost. It makes the project unsuccessful. "

 What is explanation of Rita?

I too agree for option A.

Functionality and performance was added. But customer was satisfied.

Mean one aspect atleast has been achieved.

Now extra functionality and performance - in comparetion how big it was, it is not mentioned, you cant say project was gone to loss. Even if it has gone to loss -whats matter in few cases it depends on strategic goal/ success criteria. For Example my company if recently imerging in new sector, and we wants to make a repo and I will put my effort initially not for profit , but to attracting others.

So there is no clarity , in such scenario, Option A is correct.

I found at many places - RITAs answers are unexpected.


This is Rita's explaination:

 The correct answer is B.

Gold plating a project wastes time and probably cost. It makes the project unsuccessful. 
Source: PMP® Exam Prep 
Page: 265 

Here is the problem in my mind.  The question does not address the fact (or does it and I am completely dense) that the four areas of functionality and three areas of performance were outside the scope of the project.  If the question read:

Q: At the end of a project, a project manager determines the project  has added four areas of functionality and three areas of performance outside the project scope, the customers has expressed his satisfaction with the project, what does this means in terms of the success of the project?

... i'd see that as obvious gold plating but as it stands, this question assumes that I am going to assume that the result was outside of the original or modified project scope.

I agree on your point.
There are many such questions where questioners presume many hidden conditions and while framing the questions they were unknown of side going meanings.such questions create problems among answerer.

The question does not imply gold plating.

"added four areas of functionality, three areas of performance"  does not imply gold plating, it might just be part of the scope.

Let's take it one step further. The customer was satisifed with the resulting product. However in 6 months some of the extra functionality ceases to perform as expected.

For example providing additional software modules may seen great at first but may cause issues with the initial modules specified in the scope baseline.

In the referenced question the customer being satisfied doens't dictate a successful project from a PMBOK perspective.



remember that PM doesn't approve of gold plating. Gold plating means giving extras, or giving the customer extra functionality that the customer isn't asking for. 


This means the scope was identified poorly. 

My take is that the word " at the end of project manager determines project added" only implies gold plating.

At the end of the project nothing can be said to be added if manager only has created and verified scope.


Option A,  Unqualified success means  = Absolute, without question.

But here we have questions of additions to the projects determined by manager, so A cannot be best answer.  I would have choosen A if option B was not there.


 Option B is not written fully, In Rita option B is as follows ( it also has a slight angle on Quality Vs Grade)

B. The project was unsuccessful because it was gold plated.


Hence the answer will be Option B.