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Prima Donna PM

Do you scoff when people try to give you instruction? Do you sneer when people offer you compliments? Have you ever put your fist through a picture frame because someone brought you the wrong caffeinated beverage? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might be a prima donna project manager—and no, you should not be proud of it. Fear not though, as PM Majik has an article with six ways you can get off your high horse and win back the hearts of the people:

  1. Concede that all knowledge is not known by you alone.
  2. Make project management your career goal.
  3. Make friends in high places.
  4. Communicate effectively.
  5. Mentor and be mentored.
  6. Be a natural leader.

No matter how much you know about project management and no matter how many books you have written about it, there is still something more you can learn, and you should be eager to seek out that information. Being able to follow the same rules that you dictate to your team is also a roundabout way of learning new information, in that by experiencing what your team goes through with them, you will know firsthand whether or not your processes work as intended.

Deciding that project management is indeed the career for you will go a long way toward clearing the haze and allow you to position yourself in such a way that you will have room to grow. Unless you decide this is the path for you, you will never put all your heart into it, and others will pick up on that. Having friends in high places will similarly encourage you to improve yourself. Whether or not these friends are wealthy or can actively pull you up into higher positions, the point will remain that their very presence in your life will encourage you to reach for loftier heights, and there is never anything wrong with ambition.

Communication is something, however, in which prima donna project managers seldom engage. The article has this to say:

If we associate this back to Project Management, let’s think of our sponsors and stakeholders. Our Prima Donnas are not very good communicators. If they do communicate, question the integrity. Remember, Prima Donnas are certain that they are on time and budget, even if they are not. They are very ‘busy’ managing.

And the simple solution to this is to cut out the nonsense and be honest with stakeholders. They are just as interested in achieving success as you are. Likewise, do not be afraid to share experiences through mentoring and being mentored. It is another way for you and teammates to grow.
Finally, when you lead, lead with authority and respect. Your decisions are final, but make sure they are smart decisions. When you follow the example set out here, you will be able to shed your prima donna ways and become the darling of the IT department. Maybe.

About John Friscia

John Friscia is the Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success. He began working for Computer Aid, Inc. in 2013 and continues to provide graphic design support for AITS. He graduated summa cum laude from Shippensburg University with a B.A. in English.

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