A sample text widget

Etiam pulvinar consectetur dolor sed malesuada. Ut convallis euismod dolor nec pretium. Nunc ut tristique massa.

Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna.

SMEs – Subject Matter Experts and their Role in Projects

SMEs are at the heart of  business projects, software creation and  instructional design projects. Often SMEs are inserted at the end of the project to review the final stage, but they can do so much more!

When you think about it, it would be difficult to learn anything at all without someone sharing what they have learned with you and others. To paraphrase Isaac Newton, we all stand on the shoulders of giants when we gain new knowledge. All of this knowledge is passed to us by someone who has learned and shared that information to those who followed. It wasn’t until recently that we had a name for this knowledge sharer in the training world: SMEs.  — excerpt from SMEs From the Ground Up, author Chuck Hodell

In order to get the most from your time with SMEs, innovative companies don’t leave this knowledge-sharing to chance. They establish best practices and approaches to working with SMEs. To have more success you’ll have to discuss how to define the different SMEs and their roles within your project.

Working with SMEs can ramp up a project from “completed” to SUCESSFUL and INNOVATIVE.  The people that “know” that have been in the trenches are always in demand. With just a few sessions they can steer a project away from the pitfalls. SMEs can also take the innovative dream and add some “What Ifs?” and “Customer Requests” that would otherwise be forgotten in a fast moving project.

Some ideas:

  1. Find your SMEs. Look at the time they can commit and be respectful of their constraints.
  2. Get Senior Leader buy-in to use SME time. They can reallocate and also acknowledge the valuable contribution that a SME can make.
  3. Do your homework before scheduling SME time! Get a list of questions together. Answer the ones you can, then ask for help from your SME!
  4. Record these meetings with SMEs. The writers, newbies and trainers will really need to review the details more than once to capture the “hidden gems” and get the details out of the sessions.

Other reference:  “Secrets to Successful SME Projects,” Sarah Wakefield and Patty Murdock

Leave a Reply