UW-Platteville instructor attends seminar as keynote speaker

Shawn Belling

If a professional project is in jeopardy, what can be done to save it? This is the question project management instructor Shawn Belling recently addressed at the PMI© Michigan Chapter’s Professional Development Day. 

After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville with a Master of Science in Project Management degree in 2006, Belling returned in 2008 as an adjunct instructor, and has been with the university ever since. In addition to his work at UW-Platteville, Belling also serves as the chief information officer at Madison College, situated in Madison, Wisconsin. With over 25 years in technology and project leadership experience, and possessing several credentials to his name, it’s easy to see that Belling is a professional in his prime

Due to his expertise, Belling regularly shares his knowledge with many organizations through a mixture of teaching, consulting, and professional speaking. One of his most recent engagements was the PMI© Michigan Chapter’s Professional Development Day, held on Sept. 20, which he attended as the keynote speaker. 

“This event was an all-day seminar that provided a prescriptive approach to assessing a troubled project, and then determining how to develop and execute a recovery plan,” said Belling. “I always enjoy meeting and working with people who share interests in project management and improving their practices, and this event was no exception.”

Given his experience, Belling was no stranger to this particular seminar’s topic, having worked on and saved many troubled projects over his distinguished career.

“I have many stories in this regard,” said Belling. “One I will share is an ecommerce implementation project for a well-known global beverage brand’s German bottling group. Some elements of the project and the relationship between the German implementation partner, ourselves, and the bottling group got sideways for various reasons. As a result, our firm and software product were in danger of losing the deal and the project. We had a three-way call with the bottling group’s CIO and managed to talk everyone into giving us a chance to save the project.” 

After the conversation, Belling’s team was tasked with producing demos each week for ten weeks, with the danger of being fired if things were not approved at each check-in. It took a lot of work, but ultimately Belling’s team was successful in saving the project—and even wowed the crowds at Dreamforce that fall.

Not every troubled project ends as optimally as it did in Belling’s case, but an ability to identify potential risk factors, as well as implement a swift execution plan to resolve said risks, are crucial skills every project manger should know. Fortunately, both these skills, in addition to many others, can be developed as part of UW-Platteville’s project management graduate program. 

“The MSPM program at UW-Platteville provides aspiring project management professionals with a path to a master’s degree,” said Belling. “With a deep focus on the business and practice elements, the curriculum assures success in any project-oriented environment.”

For more information about the MSPM program, visit the website.