Home » Uncategorized » Working with SMEs Effectively

Working with SMEs Effectively



This is a short and practical article. When I work with Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), I immediately treat the approach as the instructional analysis of the project (reference: Dick and Carey, Instructional Systems Design). I approach the instructional analysis as follows:


  • What is the goal of the procedure or document being produced? What are the measurable outcomes being sought?
  • Procedural task analysis – What are the major steps of any procedure involved, if there is one?
  • Information-processing analysis – Are there sets of more complex subtasks that should be defined in the case of any procedure?
  • Learning-task analysis – What are the basic concepts and scaffolding that need to be in place to understand this topic or procedure?

SMEs tend to information dump. They are excited to share their expertise! It is your job to capitalize on this excitement! It helps to have a specific series of questions to ask. Even better, design a template in which they can respond.

The most important part of working with any SMEs is to have a process in place. The most effective process I have found is this one:

  1. Do your project management estimates on the documentation process.
  2. Introduce this process to the organization and SMEs. Communicate the following to all SMEs:
  • SME contributions are critically important
  • Collaboration is contained in the process; the emphasis is on each individual in the beginning
  • There may be a collaboration meeting of everyone in the future
  • Achieve consensus from SMEs and the organization to adhere to this process.
  1. Interview each SME individually, or have each SME submit their approach/view on the topic or procedure. This is done separately, without collaboration. Use your series of questions or the template, whichever is preferred.
  2. Review submissions:
  • Look for and capture similarities – those places where everyone says the same thing
  • Capture differences that are enriching, not conflicting
  • Submit this document to SMEs for review. Tell them to correct or enrich thus far. This should keep inspiration for new ideas in a more positive slant.
  • Set hard deadlines based on a reasonable turn around – The organization MUST support this without exception. Any SME who is too busy to meet a reasonable turnaround is either not supported by the organization, or the organization is not making this effort a priority. This is not a SME issue; it is an organizational issue and must be addressed. Otherwise, the deadline for the project must be moved back accordingly.
  • Capture any new information
  1. Take all the information from this part of the process and create your document as Part I.
  2. Capture all the conflicting information into one document. Keep this document and all versions as Part II. Send an email asking everyone to review conflicts and to come back with clarifications and corrections.
  3. Move resolved conflicts into the latest version of Part I. Take remaining conflicts, book a meeting, get everyone together, and review the definition of consensus – that everyone can live with AND support the group decision.
  4. Resolve conflicts through consensus building. By this point, there should be very few conflicts left to resolve.
  5. Write all findings into Part I and named it your final document Version 1. Format it and make it gorgeous. Share with all. Thank everyone. Keep on moving.


1)   Technical procedures do not require consensus. If there are multiple correct pathways, they are all be captured.

2)   Safety policy, environmental policy, and the parts of any procedures or topics that fall under these governances are NEVER be based on consensus. These areas are regulated by designated national bodies – OSHA, MSHA, NIOSH, EPA, and other governing bodies. Organizations are required to hire or outsource expertise for review in this area.

3)   Parts of any procedure or topics that fall under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as they apply to Human Resource mandatory compliance, labor rights, EEOC, and any other similar governing body are NEVER be based on consensus. Organizations are required to hire or outsource expertise for review in this area.

Getting involved in any regulatory decision-making outside one’s expertise is not a resume builder; it is a professional and personal liability. Having multiple synchronous meetings is not an esteem building exercise; collaboration is about contribution and consensus.

About 85% my client organizations backed this process, and it worked very well. The most challenging times occurred when the SMEs were not confined to their expertise and demanded to demonstrate documentation and learning expertise they did not have. In each of these cases:

  • Deadlines were not met
  • The SMEs blamed the documentation or learning expert, project manager, and/or upper management for missed deadlines when they missed turnarounds
  • SMEs had hurt feelings that they were not as proficient as documentation or learning experts
  • Unproductive synchronous meetings were demanded to make SMEs feel better – which did not work; in fact, it gummed up the process more, as unprofessional behavior was rewarded with negative attention.

The benefits of this process are as follows:

  1. Significant money saved in time spent on the documentation process.
  2. Everyone feels included, and feelings are rarely hurt by the time everyone is in the room together – and even that is rarely needed.
  3. Subject matter expertise and documentation / learning expertise are compartmentalized – and YES, this is a positive thing.
  4. Significant risk mitigation as the final documentation and learning will be of sound integrity, unambiguous, and aligned with all regulatory requirements. This will potentially save millions of dollars over time.
  5. Standardization of documents and procedures is inherent in the process.

In conclusion, work with SMEs for who they are – people with a tremendous level of expertise in their fields. Respect them as such. Use collaboration judiciously – not all collaboration means you are in the same room, hashing things out. Use your expertise as a specialist to facilitate the most effective means of getting the desired outcomes!

18,400 Responses so far.

  1. generic viagra 100mg sildenafil

  2. viagra without a doctor prescription

  3. sildenafil citrate generic viagra 100mg

  4. viagra without a doctors prescription

  5. cbd oil interactions with medications

  6. does cbd oil show up on drug test

  7. where to buy cbd cream for pain

  8. pureplay poker member login

  9. free texas holdem poker games

  10. free poker games texas hold’em

  11. poker hands from lowest to highest

  12. cbd oil for sale walmart34

  13. strongest cbd oil for sale26

  14. cbd oil stores near me51

  15. best cbd oil for pain59

  16. cbd oil canada online92

  17. best cbd oil in canada82

  18. where to buy cbd oil in canada0

  19. charlotte web cbd oil97

  20. walmart cbd oil for pain72

  21. cbd oil holland and barrett94

  22. cbd oil price at walmart48

  23. full spectrum cbd oil80

  24. pure kana natural cbd oil32

  25. holland and barrett cbd oil2

  26. how much cbd oil should i take59

  27. side effects of cbd oil40

  28. the best cbd oil on the market6

  29. does walgreens sell cbd oil16

  30. what is cbd oil benefits49

  31. cbd oil interactions with medications77

  32. does cbd oil show up on drug test33

  33. hemp cbd oil side effects14

  34. what is cbd oil good for71

  35. cbd oil dosage instructions46

  36. cbd oil and drug testing54

  37. where to buy cbd oil near me9

  38. where to buy cbd cream16

  39. where to buy cbd oil online70

  40. where to buy cbd locally73

  41. where can you buy cbd oil75

  42. where can i buy cbd oil near me25

  43. where to buy cbd cream for pain15

  44. retail stores selling cbd oil35

  45. cbd cream for pain relief86

  46. charlottes web cbd oil59

  47. cbd oil for sale walmart24

  48. strongest cbd oil for sale83

  49. cbd oil stores near me78

  50. best cbd oil for pain73

  51. cbd oil canada online26

  52. best cbd oil in canada62

  53. where to buy cbd oil in canada99

  54. walmart cbd oil for pain5

  55. cbd oil holland and barrett46

  56. cbd oil price at walmart87

  57. full spectrum cbd oil76

  58. pure kana natural cbd oil30

  59. holland and barrett cbd oil73

  60. how much cbd oil should i take83

  61. side effects of cbd oil94

  62. does walgreens sell cbd oil88

  63. what is cbd oil benefits58

  64. cbd oil interactions with medications73

  65. does cbd oil show up on drug test56

  66. hemp cbd oil side effects30

  67. what is cbd oil good for22

  68. cbd oil dosage instructions83

  69. cbd oil and drug testing87

  70. where to buy cbd oil near me96

  71. where to buy cbd oil online72

  72. where to buy cbd locally97

  73. where can i buy cbd oil near me87

  74. where to buy cbd cream for pain24

  75. retail stores selling cbd oil86

  76. cbd side effects on liver50

  77. buy college essays online64

  78. cbd cream for pain relief93

  79. buy argumentative essay54

  80. buy essays online for college34

  81. charlottes web cbd oil74

  82. buy essay online cheap94

  83. cbd oil for sale walmart84

  84. buy essays online cheap49

  85. where can i buy an essay49

  86. buy custom essays online53

  87. strongest cbd oil for sale4

  88. buy an essay online cheap79

  89. cbd oil stores near me46

  90. buy essays for college12

  91. best cbd oil for pain37

  92. buy custom essay online56

  93. buy essay papers online91

  94. where can i buy an essay online63

  95. cbd oil canada online98

  96. buy essay online safe56

  97. buy essays online safe42

  98. buy essays online reviews54

  99. best cbd oil in canada50

  100. where to buy cbd oil in canada21

  101. best website to buy essays78

  102. charlotte web cbd oil23

  103. walmart cbd oil for pain94

  104. buy cheap essays online12

  105. cbd oil holland and barrett91

  106. where can i buy essays online84

  107. cbd oil price at walmart89

  108. buy essay writing online62

  109. full spectrum cbd oil18

  110. buy essay cheap online42

  111. buy essay papers cheap53

  112. buy essay online for cheap57

  113. pure kana natural cbd oil57

  114. holland and barrett cbd oil24

  115. buy cheap essay online66

  116. how much cbd oil should i take95

  117. help me write my essay69

  118. common app essay help38

  119. help me write an essay70

  120. help writing an essay21

  121. side effects of cbd oil69

  122. college application essay help32

  123. the best cbd oil on the market52

  124. does walgreens sell cbd oil75

  125. what is cbd oil benefits91

  126. i need help writing an essay80

  127. cbd oil interactions with medications10

  128. college essay writing help57

  129. help with writing an essay99

  130. help with college essays23

  131. help with college essay39

  132. essay about helping others37

  133. does cbd oil show up on drug test46

  134. common application essay help68

  135. scholarship essay writing help24

  136. college admission essay help77

  137. college admissions essay help18

  138. hemp cbd oil side effects90

  139. help writing college essay55

  140. need help writing an essay46

  141. essay writing help online20

  142. cbd oil dosage instructions66

  143. cbd oil and drug testing42

  144. help with writing essays60

  145. where to buy cbd oil near me44

  146. argumentative essay help48

  147. help writing college essays7

  148. help on writing an essay7

  149. national honor society essay help9

  150. where can i buy cbd oil41

  151. where to buy cbd oil online60

  152. help me write my college essay43

  153. medical school essay help83

  154. in an essay help you guide69

  155. i need help with my essay42

  156. where can you buy cbd oil4

  157. where can i buy cbd oil near me54

  158. descriptive essay help73

  159. application essay help64

  160. where to buy cbd cream for pain10

  161. retail stores selling cbd oil57

  162. college essay help online99

  163. compare and contrast essay help10

  164. the help essay questions36

  165. help writing essays for college11

  166. help in writing an essay48

  167. i need help writing a narrative essay9

  168. higher english essay help40

  169. lord of the flies essay help53

  170. i need help to write an essay56

  171. i need help with my college essay7

  172. college essay help long island99

  173. i need help with writing an essay58

  174. i need help writing a compare and contrast essay42

  175. i need help writing a descriptive essay50

  176. i need help writing a essay41

  177. i need help writing an argumentative essay90

  178. college application essay writing help46

  179. i need help writing an essay for college93

  180. college application essay help online61

  181. i need help writing my essay85

  182. cheap essay help online28

  183. help writing grad school essay54

  184. help writing a essay for college45

  185. help writing a narrative essay32

  186. help writing an argumentative essay29

  187. help writing an essay for college11

  188. cbd side effects on liver59

  189. help writing argumentative essay76

  190. help writing college application essay29

  191. college essay online help48

  192. college essay ideas help23

  193. college essay help service27

  194. help writing essays for scholarships6

  195. i need help on writing an essay83

  196. help writing my college essay51

  197. help writing scholarship essays1

  198. college essay help nyc82

  199. helping others essays94

  200. helping writing essay76

  201. cbd cream for pain relief25

  202. high school essay help24

  203. higher english critical essay help70

  204. narrative essay writing help93

  205. the help essay prompts24

  206. reflective essay help41

  207. romeo and juliet essay help63

  208. cbd oil for sale walmart65

  209. sat essay writing help64

  210. admissions essay help39

  211. the help by kathryn stockett essay20

  212. strongest cbd oil for sale34

  213. admission college essay help51

  214. the help essay on racism4

  215. professional essay writing help27

  216. best cbd oil for pain91

  217. university essay help46

  218. who can help me write an essay28

  219. academic essay writing help51

  220. help writing a compare and contrast essay37

  221. best college essay help77

  222. national junior honor society essay help98

  223. need help in writing an essay99

  224. need help to write an essay20

  225. where to buy cbd oil in canada77

  226. need help with essay writing30

  227. walmart cbd oil for pain70

  228. need help writing a essay92

  229. cbd oil holland and barrett85

  230. cbd oil price at walmart70

  231. need help writing essay69

  232. need help writing scholarship essay46

  233. argumentative essay helper48

  234. pure kana natural cbd oil29

  235. holland and barrett cbd oil37

  236. how much cbd oil should i take85

  237. online help with essay writing63

  238. personal statement essay help14

  239. persuasive essay helper73

  240. persuasive essay writing help9

  241. please help me write my essay60

  242. professional essay help45

  243. expository essay help21

  244. side effects of cbd oil39

  245. essay help online chat35

  246. the best cbd oil on the market51

  247. essays on the movie the help53

  248. help for essay writing31

  249. does walgreens sell cbd oil15

  250. help in essay writing87

  251. what is cbd oil benefits7

  252. essay help introduction41

  253. help in writing essay95

  254. cbd oil interactions with medications85

  255. help in writing essays41

  256. help me to write an essay55

  257. does cbd oil show up on drug test39

  258. essay homework help online28

  259. essay introduction help78

  260. essay on helping poor people46

  261. essay paper writing help47

  262. essay revision help online72

  263. what is cbd oil good for42

  264. help me write a compare and contrast essay71

  265. essay writing assignment help46

  266. cbd oil dosage instructions49

  267. essay writing help for high school students69

  268. cbd oil and drug testing1

  269. essay writing help for students12

  270. where to buy cbd oil near me78

  271. essay writing homework help59

  272. help with writing essays at university67

  273. definition essay help79