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The “Top Project Managers’ ” Approach to Managing a Project

When you need advice, it helps when you go straight to the top. Dan Schawbel for B2C interviews six of the “Top 14 Project Managers to Follow on Twitter” about what makes them successful PMs. You don't need to be a Twitter fiend to appreciate these insights.


Project manager Cheri Essner takes the approach of servant leadership. She becomes the voice of her team by channeling and organizing the group consensus into meaningful action. Instead of dictating from above, Essner allows team members to challenge each other, to encourage success, and to grow and learn as a unit. Her chosen PM strategy is PMBOK.

As Thomas Cagley suggests, one cannot manage a project from their seat in the conference room. Cagley advocates a hands-on approach to PM that involves traveling to check in on live projects in the field. By visiting projects in person, delivery of value can be rooted in the project’s context, taking into account variables such as budget, scope, and productivity.


Oil and Gas project manager Steven Baker combines a PMI PMP methodology with a sound communication strategy of soliciting input from team members to build strong relationships.

The notable Susanne Madsen equates team empowerment with delegation of responsibility. She advocates an approach to project management that stresses the “what,” rather than “how,” by giving employees full reign over project tasks:

There is nothing worse than working for a project manager who doesn’t trust their team to make decisions and run with the detail. Many project managers think that they need to be super people who have to know it all and do it all on their own. But a good project manager is someone who uses the strengths of the team and who doesn’t pretend that they need to have all the answers themselves.

Innovators & Traditionalists

Mike Alan Kaplan is not afraid to mingle PM strategies like PMBOK and PRINCE2. He even designed his own cloud-based PM “toolkit” that combines the two strategies to facilitate collaboration and the delivery of well-mastered projects.

Some, like Jerry Ihejirika, become successful project managers by doing things the old fashioned way. His approach to PM is similar to the waterfall method, involving traditional phases such as design, execution, and modeling. Sometimes, being open-minded means being open to the established ways of managing projects.

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About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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