In Scope: Managing Projects at UW–Madison

In Scope is a mini-curriculum and conversation workshop series designed for managers of small- to medium-sized projects at UW–Madison.

Project management experts will address managing projects in the university environment, introduce project management methods and resources, and facilitate conversations around common problems and solutions.

Presenters will assign minimal prework (e.g., videos or articles) for each discussion; prework materials will be accessible through the Canvas learning management system.

Upon the completion of each In Scope session, the event recording and session materials will be archived in the corresponding Canvas module to serve as a resource for participants.

All sessions will be online. You can register for the entire series or select individual sessions.


Once you have registered for an In Scope session, you need take the additional step of self-enrolling in the Canvas course through the link below. This serves as the archive for all In Scope pre-session materials, recordings, etc. Registration requires a valid NetID.

Access the Canvas Course


The Office of Strategic Consulting is committed to creating an inclusive and accessible event. If you need a reasonable accommodation to attend this event, please contact Jenny Erickson. All reasonable accommodation requests should be made no less than two weeks before the event. We will attempt to fulfill requests made after this date but cannot guarantee they will be met.

Fall 2022

September 28, 9:00-10:00 a.m. (This session has passed)

Jim Thompson headshotManaging Projects in a Rapidly Changing Environment
Presented by Jim Thompson, internal consultant, Office of Strategic Consulting

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said, “change is the only constant in life.” That is certainly true in higher education, and especially at a large, cutting-edge research university like UW–Madison. And the pace of change can be quite rapid. So, how can you successfully manage a project in this rapidly changing environment (where targets may be moving or shifting)?

This session provided an overview of different project management frameworks to help manage change, as well as some examples of how they can be applied to UW–Madison projects. It focused on foundational change management and communication strategies that are integral to good project management.

November 1, 1:00-2:00 p.m. (This session has passed)

How to Launch a Project the Right Way
Presented by Jim Martin, senior project manager, Office of Strategic Consulting

When a project gets off to a bad start, it can not only lead to wasted time and money (due to re-work)  but also demoralize the team, making it harder to keep them engaged and motivated. In his 40 years as a project manager, Jim Martin has learned just what it takes to launch a project the right way—and create the best chances for success. In this session, Jim taught attendees how to plan, prepare, and conduct a successful kickoff meeting to prevent project derailment down the line.

November 21, 10:00-11:00 a.m. (This session has passed)

Your Project is Off the Rails. Now What? Leading a Project that Needs a Reset
Presented by Jo Carter, project portfolio manager, UW System Administration

It happens. Despite your best intentions and even thoughtful planning, sometimes a project just doesn’t go as planned. There are a lot of factors that can derail a project, including changes in leadership, sponsorship or team makeup, as well as budget constraints or even environmental factors (hello, COVID). And, sometimes, a project simply stalls out or loses momentum and needs a shakeup to re-infuse life into it.

Whatever the reason, sometimes you need a reset to get a project back on track. But what is the best way to do that? This session addressed why these issues happen, how to fix them, and why it’s important to do so.

December 14, 10:00-11:00 a.m.

Jenny Faust headshotManaging Up
Presented by Jenny Faust, associate vice provost for strategic initiatives and director, Office of Strategic Consulting; and Dave Pagenkopf, deputy chief information officer, Department of Information Technology

“Managing up” is the art of interacting with your supervisor or project sponsor to contribute to their success. This involves skills such as presenting both problems and proposed solutions, understanding their work style and expectations and tailoring your interactions with them accordingly, and knowing how to work around their weaknesses and still succeed. Looking at real-life case studies, this session will review common challenges in dealing with project leaders, owners, and sponsors, and discuss some strategies that could help you to navigate these challenges.