Working with 'reticent' SMEs
Oct 11, 2011
I'll try and don my diplomatic hat for this one because I don't want to appear insensitive to certain SMEs that might be out there ...
The question is: how do you work with SMEs that do the following:
- keep communication to an absolute minimum and fail to reply to questions with straight answers
- struggle to articulate (no pun intended) everything from objectives through to content
- throw as much content together as possible and do so in a language/style that only they understand
- fail to put themselves in the learners' shoes and are only interested in seeing things from their own pespective
- create delays but still want everything done yesterday
I may be wrong but I'm sure I've worked with SMEs that really aren't interested in committing to the project and all they want to see is the end product. They have no idea of the amount of work involved. Likewise I'm sure many SMEs are simply ultra-busy and subsequently struggle to prioritise the speed and clarity of their communication..
Sure, part of the whole ID/dev process can involve an element of deciphering, but IMO this can be a costly use of time. Even more so when it's the SME that 'knows their stuff inside-out' and should be willing to 're-present' in accordance with the spec.
Hence, I'm now starting to throw everything back to SME(s) stating exactly what I/we need before progressing to the next stage. At least it's documented.
Not sure how diplomatic that was, but it's off my chest for now. How about you guys?