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Subject:Re: Resumes and SMEs From:Tim Altom <taltom -at- IQUEST -dot- NET> Date:Mon, 24 Feb 1997 10:44:36 -0600
At 09:18 AM 2/24/97 EST, you wrote:
<lots of good SME-nudging suggestions reluctantly snipped>
>Just out of curiosity, what do you guys do when you're
>faced with a difficult SME situation?
>mhunterk -at- bna -dot- com (standard disclaimer)
Well, I haven't used food for a bribe, but I would. I've used all of the
suggestions you've already put forth. I've taken 'em to lunch, minimized
their time commitments, dropped by the cubicles from time to time to see if
they were too busy to talk, and on and on.
But the one point that I've taken to heart is that I always make it clear to
them what I need, then I make it (if possible) both easy and desirable to
help me. I have a meeting early on with both them and their bosses, so we
all know what I need and when. That way, the boss can show a little support,
and the SME can feel free to pound on me in the presence of his godfather.
Then I go to work in the wainscoating. It helps that I speak technogeek,
too. Nothing cheeses off a SME any faster than a well-intentioned, but
technically ignorant, writer. And they have a point, albeit perhaps a harsh
one: Why didn't you bother to do your homework before you came to me?
In addition I've found that often SMEs just want somebody to bloody well
listen to them talk. Not rigid business stuff, either. Just talk. About the
project. About their bosses. Since I'm always a contractor and won't be
around as a verbal time bomb later, they usually feel free to talk to me.
I've found that nobody habitually listens to the technoweenies in the back
room, so I do. Since I was (and occasionally still am) a technoweenie
myself, I can trade war stories.
I've never had a horrible SME problem, but maybe I didn't recognize it when
it arose. When one SME is utterly unapproachable, I can usually find
another. If I couldn't, and I couldn't schmooze, bribe, talk, or organize my
way in, then I'd have no choice but to leave the problem up to the project
heads. At some point you have to. I've just never reached it myself.
Vice President, Simply Written, Inc.
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