Agile Practices


Lisa-Ann Barnes

Lisa-Ann Barnes is the president and founder of IreeTec, a company specializing in project management. As a project management expert, she speaks at industry conferences, is quoted in trade publications, and has coauthored a book (published by Prentice Hall) on project management for information technology projects. Barnes is certified in project management by both the Project Management Institute and CompTIA. With almost 20 years’ experience in information technology, she has developed an adaptable methodology for project management and has implemented it successfully in many companies around the world. Barnes helps teams improve their project effectiveness through process improvements, strategy development, training, mentoring, project office implementations, and other consulting services.

Currently teaching:Essentials of Project Management
Soft Skills for Project Managers
Practical Project Planning

Daniel C. Baumgartner

Daniel Baumgartner is an independent management consultant with more than 30 years of business process management and information technology experience. Formerly a partner in several large management consulting firms, he has held leadership roles in management and information technology consulting services, managed client business analysts and functional managers, and demonstrated expertise in improving business processes, developing IT strategies and plans, leading the implementation of IT solutions to address business issues, and selecting and implementing enterprise-wide software applications. Baumgartner holds an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

Currently teaching:Applied Project Management

Perla Castro

Perla Castro is the owner of Alpha PM Consulting. A dedicated entrepreneur and a highly adaptable program manager, she has over 20 years of experience driving sizable global program success for Fortune 500 leaders and nonprofit organizations. Often leading multiple projects concurrently, Castro is an expert in building team consensus and cultivating exceptional relationships across cultures, industries, and organizations. Fluent in both Spanish and English, Castro donates her time and experience as a project manager to various community organizations in Chicago and Guatemala. She is also a passionate early-onset Alzheimer’s caregiver, an avid advocate, and an education and awareness activist. Castro holds a master’s degree in management information systems from DePaul University and a certificate in leadership from the Metropolitan Leadership Institute.

Currently teaching:Essentials of Project Management
Applied Project Management

Alyssa Dickman

Alyssa Dickman is a consultant in the organizational effectiveness practice at Slalom Consulting, where she focuses on organizational change and talent management. Dickman works with her clients to create strategies that align people and behavior to achieve business results. Her over 15 years of experience in the organizational effectiveness field include positions as recruiter and training consultant for the Tribune Company, implementation consultant for BrassRing (now Kenexa), and business process consultant at CareerBuilder. Prior to joining Slalom, Dickman worked independently as an organizational development consultant, focusing on leadership development and team facilitation. Passionate about theater, she is a member of the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee, which recognizes excellence in Chicago theater. Dickman received her BA from Brandeis University and MS from Northwestern University.

Currently teaching:Developing People and Teams

Karen Larson

Karen Larson is a senior project manager specializing in the healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and distribution industries. Her career spans a variety of Fortune 100 companies, with leadership positions in information technology management, software development, project and program management offices, and business intelligence. Larson has expertise and significant experience in improving business processes, developing corporate strategies and plans, leading the implementation of IT-oriented solutions to address business issues, and building business intelligence excellence. She holds an MBA from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management, a BA from Miami University. and PMP certification from the Project Management Institute.

Currently teaching:Applied Project Management

Alex (Alexandre) Melo (DeMelo)

Alex Melo is the CEO of SIDIA - Samsung R&D Institute in Amazon, Brazil. SIDIA works on the research and development of cutting-edge technologies covering Smartphones, Smartwatches, Virtual Reality, Games, Digital TV and others. Melo’s career has spanned several different positions in the technology industry. He has had the opportunity to apply project management concepts to such areas as product development, team building, process improvement, tools development, certifications, and training. Known for developing and using simple and practical approaches to address complex project problems, he follows the same principles in his teaching. Melo holds an MS in engineering, PMP certification from the Project Management Institute, and an executive MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

Currently teaching:Risk Management
Power Excel Skills for Project Managers

Anthony Mersino

Anthony Mersino is an enterprise agile coach with Vitality Chicago. Passionate about helping technology teams thrive and organizations transform, he is frequently invited by organizations to help teams adopt agile thinking and the scrum framework. Mersino teaches a wide range of agile and scrum training courses as well as the cultural elements necessary for an organization to gain true business agility. As a coach he helps organizations establish co-located and cross-functional teams, identify effective product owners, and create initial product backlogs. Mersino enjoys working with an organization’s leaders to help them create an environment where people come first, productivity is high, and teamwork is effective and enjoyable. Author of numerous blog posts and articles, he has also written two books: Agile Project Management for Teams and Emotional Intelligence for Project Managers. Mersino earned an undergraduate degree at Michigan State University and an MBA at Loyola College of Maryland as well as PMP and PMI-ACP certification.

Currently teaching:Leading and Coaching Agile Teams
Agile for Practitioners
Agile Estimating and Planning
Supporting an Agile Transformation

Daniel Roth

Daniel Roth is president and owner of Roth Associates, a small business focused on advising world-class clients on all aspects of project, program, and portfolio management, including technology-enabled business process improvement and management and organizational performance improvement. He has extensive experience in the aerospace and defense industries and in public- and private-sector consulting across nearly all sectors and industries as well as academia. A graduate of the Defense Acquisition University, he holds Project Management Institute certifications as project management professional and scheduling professional and is a current candidate for the Microsoft certified professional–project credential. Roth earned a BS in engineering from Purdue University, an MS in engineering from California State Polytechnic University, and an MBA from the University of Southern California.

Currently teaching:Applied Project Management

Balajirao Ryali

Balajirao Ryali is director of the project management office at a major Chicago-area manufacturing company. Spanning the manufacturing, energy, software, and telecommunication industries, his 26-year professional career include 19 years in industry and 7 years in higher education. A senior member of IEEE and the American Society for Quality, he is also a member of the Project Management Institute and the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences. Ryali holds a master of engineering management degree from Northwestern University, an MBA from DePaul University, and bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electronics and communication engineering. He is certified by the Project Management Institute as a project management professional and a program management professional and by the American Society for Quality as a six sigma black belt and a manager of quality and organizational excellence.

Currently teaching:Applied Project Management