Chapter Spotlight: 4 Questions with Madison's Wendy AndersonAlong with Alan Decker and Todd Peterson, Wendy Anderson helps lead one of MPUG’s newest chapters, located in Madison, WI. Here, Anderson, a senior project management consultant at Alliant Energy, also based in Madison, recently shared her chapter’s secrets for holding nimble meetings.

Madison recently tried out a “lite” chapter meeting format. What’s that about

Our chapter meetings are typically hosted by one of the chapter members’ companies. We take turns providing light refreshments. For our recent spring 2011 meeting, we went more casual and met at a local pizzeria. Before the meeting kicked off, everyone had an opportunity to grab a bite to eat and socialize. It worked well, and we’ll probably try it again.

Since our startup in April 2010, we’ve covered numerous topics at chapter meetings, including project health metrics reporting, project prioritization processes, a Microsoft Project Server 2010 demonstration, an add-on tool to create visual reports of cross-project dependencies, and a report-out by those who attended the 2011 Midwest Microsoft Project Conference in Oakbrook, Il.

The Madison MPUG chapter has tried various meeting formats, including introducing the concept of a “speed demo.” The speed demo is a five- to 10-minute sharing of a process or tool that we think other members might find beneficial to use in their organizations. The speed demo is presented as a “warm-up” topic prior to the keynote speaker.

Any advice for other chapters if they’re struggling to hold meetings or draw attendees

One idea is to make the chapter meetings an informal and welcoming environment so that members feel free to ask questions and exchange ideas. Reinforce that everyone has something to offer, and encourage all to share their Microsoft Project experiences and lessons.

In addition, don’t be afraid to try different meeting formats. If one approach doesn’t appear to be well-received, keep thinking outside the box and explore other ways to get members involved.

You’re in Madison. If we’re visiting, what should we make sure to put on our must-do/must-eat list

Madison is a beautiful city — especially in warm weather months! A couple of places to visit while here include our State Capital, and from there, a walk along State Street to the University of Wisconsin – Madison campus. Take a break at the university’s Memorial Union, sit out on the terrace overlooking Lake Mendota, enjoy some Babcock Hall Ice Cream or a beer, and listen to live music on Friday and Saturday nights.

What feature do you most love about Project 2010

We can provide an update later this year!