Alana Spencer: The worst thing you can do as project manager is let everyone overrule you

Lord Sugar’s business partner, Alana Spencer, explains how treating The Apprentice like a joke saw last night’s loser Kurran get sacked

Alana Spencer: The worst thing you can do as project manager is let everyone overrule you

The advertising task is always an exciting one for viewers but incredibly hard for candidates. It’s very difficult to come up with a concept, brand and product all in about 48 hours and is one of the tougher challenges they’ll face, so the project manager must be on point. However, there’s a difference between taking things on board from your team and letting them just completely overrule you, which is ultimately what caused this week’s firing.

The winning team, Typhoon, on the other hand stuck to their guns. They chose an appropriate ‘business class’ theme to market their own airline company and stuck with it. Yes, they definitely took elements from other companies – the stewardess uniform especially was like a direct copy – but that’s what a lot of companies do. Many businesses look at others and try to replicate the success and I think that’s where Typhoon went right. 

Sabrina was a good leader. She was calm, collected and it was nice to see that after losing the fitness task she can in fact win as project manager. However, she really, really needs to start speaking up. She’s got something good about her but gets talked over at every opportunity, such as when Jasmine took over the role of directing from her. In the beginning it’s fine not to be too vocal but now Sabrina needs to find her voice, otherwise she will get fired.  

Speaking of Jasmine, I can see why people are saying she’s too serious but you can tell she’s in it to win it. We haven’t really seen a lot from her until this episode but I quite like her. Admittedly, she was a little bit like the fun police this task but Typhoon needed that. Otherwise, it could have become a very unserious concept and a bit of a joke like the other team. I think Jasmine might be one that could do quite well.

The losing team, Collaboration, could have certainly used her. The party airline theme they chose was just the worst they could have chosen. That stewardess outfit they designed reminded me of Eurovision years ago when a British entry had very similar corny costumes. It was all just a joke I think, the whole thing, there wasn’t really a brand there.

Although, I did feel for Collaboration quite a lot when the explosion image used in their airline logo was called out during their pitch to investors. You can tell that obviously no one on the team meant for it to be related to what it was related to but it was quite funny. 

Camilla certainly held responsibility for that blunder. She helped design the logo and it came out looking like something made on MS Paint. However, while the whole concept behind it was really bad and Camilla was heavily involved, she has been performing well in the process. Sometimes it’s quite good when successful candidates have to come back into the boardroom because it keeps them on their toes and gives them a warning. I’m hoping now she’ll just step up her game.

Khadija also got dragged back into the boardroom. We saw a lot of her on the first episode being quite vocal, loud and difficult to work with and I think this is the second time she’s been criticised for the same thing. She didn’t particularly do anything wrong this task but she didn’t particularly do anything right either. And at this point, if you haven’t changed your ways and are still being difficult to work with, it’s only a matter of time before you have to leave, so I don’t think she’ll last much longer.

But this week, it was Kurran’s time that ran out. I always suspected he didn’t join The Apprentice the for the right reasons and in the aftershow he basically admitted he wasn’t in it for the business side, so Lord Sugar was 100% right to make that firing. In fact, I think it should have happened a long time ago. It’s really a shame, because he took a place that could have gone to an applicant genuinely serious about starting a business with Lord Sugar. 

It all went wrong when Kurran sold it in the boardroom last week that he’d lead from the front if given a chance – but that’s exactly what he didn’t do last night. I get the impression he’s quite good friends with a lot of candidates in there and was treating it as a bit of fun, so when his team didn’t want to go for his ideas it wasn’t a big deal to him. However, if he pushed his original concept for a business themed airline like the winning team went for, Collaboration could have done a bit better. It comes down to the fact that, ultimately, the worst thing you can do as project manager is let everyone overrule you. Granted, Kurran’s made for a great viewing and is very entertaining which I think saved his bacon for a few weeks. But if he’d gone any further it would have been a bit of a joke. 

It’s hard to predict what will happen in next week’s episode because we’re getting down to some strong candidates. Khadija and Tom are probably in line to go – we haven’t seen much from Tom who I thought would have shined after the fitness task. One thing’s for sure: I’m absolutely loving Kayode. I think he’s incredible and I really hope he does well, he’s so good. But it’s starting to get tricky now. I don’t envy Lord Sugar’s decision next week. 



Alana Spencer
Alana Spencer

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