5 Ways to Identify a True Subject Matter Expert
- Improved requirements definition
- Matching project priorities to industry best practices
- Placing user needs at the center of the design process to impact product delivery and product strategy
So, how does one identify a true SME? Here are a few tips:
- SMEs have a documented history of working in the area for which they are an expert.
- SMEs have actually done the work. They’ve rolled up their sleeves throughout their career. Therefore, they not only understand your challenges, but the details within those challenges. They’ve spec’d requirements, written test scripts, supported data validation, documented business and conversion processes, and managed critical projects.
- SMEs understand industry best practices and can communicate those insights to help you improve your business model.
- SMEs understand user needs. When you design a product to meet a need, you’re addressing the problems, concerns, or desires of the people who will utilize it on a regular basis. SMEs know how to meld design to improve user performance.
- SMEs lower project costs. SMEs deliver project tasks more quickly, more accurately, and more thoroughly than your typical Business Analyst. While they may bill at a higher rate, overall project costs are reduced.
In my experience, the best SMEs can do it all. They serve equally well as a project manager, a business analyst, or a QA lead supporting the business or IT. They can write test scripts, and with equal adeptness develop spec requirements. Why? They’ve been working in your industry getting their hands dirty their entire career. They like what they do and can’t wait for the next adventure. They positively shape a product’s direction as it goes through its development life cycle.
Another plus: SMEs aren’t tied to any specific application. Typically, a project is better served with a high-level SME versus just an application expert. Why? It’s easier to learn a new application than to learn the business.
About Shaw Resource Solutions
Raleigh deShazo manages Shaw Resource Solutions, Shaw Systems’ consulting division. The group has successfully delivered hundreds of projects for companies across the country, including some of the nation’s largest banks and finance companies.
From Project Managers to Developers to Subject Matter Experts and everything in between, Shaw Resource Solutions has the critical resources your project needs. Proficient in your industry and systems, these consultants will address your business and technical challenges and deliver the results you expect. The group’s services span the complete solution life cycle, including project management, strategic planning, integration strategy, operational assessments, reporting, conversions, upgrades, training, systems enhancements, and more.