Merrill, Robert

Robert Merrill


DoIT Project Management Office

2018 Sessions

Session 1
Title: Don’t Panic! Success is a bigger target than you think
Co-Presenters: Shannon Larson, Tamra Dagnon
Someone has handed you a project—actually just an idea and a deadline—and you’re not really a project manager or business analyst. How can you set everyone up for success, without losing your minds in the process? This panel discussion with two BAs and a PM from the CIO’s Office PMO will leave with you some essential concepts and pro tips to help you get from almost zero information to a scope, some high-level requirements, and a realistic budget and schedule that tilt the odds of success
in your favor.
Key Session Takeaways:

  • Success – What is the real problem or opportunity?
  • Scope – Agreeing on what we’re not doing (and doing)
  • Requirements – Understanding and describing possible solution capabilities
  • Estimating – effort, budget, schedule, and what if it won’t fit?

Session 2
Title: Pass the Paper
Pass the Paper is a collaboration pattern for getting fast, peer-reviewed feedback on a set of text or graphic work products. It reduces groupthink, gives introverts an equal voice, and minimizes listener errors in note-taking. And it’s fast—we’ve seen a half-dozen people absorb and improve several dozen user stories in an hour.
Pass the Paper is People-Powered Parallel Processing for your lean/agile software or other knowledge-work team. This flash talk will show you how it’s done.


Robert Merrill started making software in 1977, working in FORTRAN. He came to UW–Madison as a
research scientist and programmer in 1986. As a developer for local start-up Berbee during the dotcom
boom, Robert grew frustrated with project schedules and so-called requirements and became a
champion of realistic expectations and structuring projects for repeatable success as a sales engineer.
He then served regional software firms and IT shops as an independent consultant, before returning to
the campus Project Management Office in 2014. As a Senior Business Analyst, Robert has guided a
variety of projects from concept through software selection to the early stages of successful