Re: Tips on how to talk to SMEs

Subject: Re: Tips on how to talk to SMEs
From: Bill Swallow <techcommdood -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: Craig Cardimon <craig -dot- cardimon -at- gmail -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 13 Jul 2011 09:54:34 -0400

I've grown to detest the moniker "SME" as it takes the human
completely out of the equation.

Here are some real tips:

1) The "SME" is a human being who was tasked to deliver a portion of
the overall project, just like you were with the documentation.
2) The "SME" generally has interests outside the project and more
often than not enjoys conversation with other co-workers and project
team members. Try it sometime.
3) Both you and the "SME" have the same interests in mind. Both of you
will put the user first, but in your hearts you know you're excited
about the next paycheck.
4) The "SME" may not be a SME about much of anything. They may know
less about the user than you do. They might be a SME in C# or other
such technology, but might have developed a feature per spec. Make
sure you determine your SME's level of SME.
5) Don't catch your "SME" off-guard. First contact should be
scheduled. It's only polite, as they have work to do, and you know how
much you hate getting interrupted when under deadline. If you both hit
it off and they say to drop in any time, do so, even if just to ask
about their weekend.
6) Ask the "SME" for their opinion, not on what you should document or
write, but how they think the user will like the feature. You may find
the differences between the answers to "how does it work" and "how do
you think they'll like it" astonishing.

Golden rule is that you're all on the same team with the same goal,
and you're all fairly intelligent human beings. Teamwork starts and
ends with relationships. Make yours matter.

On Wed, Jul 13, 2011 at 8:19 AM, Craig Cardimon
<craig -dot- cardimon -at- gmail -dot- com> wrote:
> These suggestions might help:

Bill Swallow

Twitter: @techcommdood

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Tips on how to talk to SMEs: From: Craig Cardimon

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