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Working with the SME

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Working with the SME

Post by Admin on Tue Mar 15, 2016 10:54 am

As an information developer, whether you like it or not, working with a SME/BA/POC is imperative.

SME, also called ‘’smee’’ is indispensable for accurate information development. SMEs are the experts. They help you by providing the resources to begin documentation, review it for technical accuracy, and provide feedback. Their experience and extensive knowledge on the subject or modules is invaluable.  However, working with SME can be challenging at times. I have tried to classify the SME based on certain traits that I observed during the course of my working.

Hard-to-get SME:

This SME is difficult to catch hold of. The SME always reschedules the meetings because the smee is already in other meetings. The SME is never available to clarify doubts and share thoughts. Such SME, at times, do not even respond to emails and may require you to involve higher-ups to get a timely response.

The Collaborative SME:

This type of smees knows their work and is sure what exactly they want, but nevertheless they patiently hear your thoughts and also encourage new ideas. They make sure the content writer gets the required information and that there are no hurdles in the documentation process. They make sure they are constantly involved and encourage you to ask questions, clarify doubts.

The Cool SME:

Working with such type of SME is a cakewalk. Really?  Such an SME at times does not even know the complete functionality they own. They blink when asked some questions, leaving you wondering if you did a mistake. They agree to all that you say, leaving you thinking if the smee heard and understood your thoughts. Such SMEs may also sign-off the document the next moment that it is sent.

The Dictator or Keep-under-thumb SME

This type of SME thinks they know everything and actually the information developer is redundant. Such kind of SMEs wants everything done as per their instructions, even to the choice of words, structure. They end up thinking the writer is working on only his/her documents and expect you to oblige and they strongly believe in “My way of highway” theory.


  • Inspite of all the hiccups, SME is the key to a library of information.
  • Be an active listener
  • It’s ok to ask questions, no matter how silly it may sound.
  • Make notes of the discussion and send the MOM.
  • Establish clear expectations on the following:

    • Deadlines
    • Scope of the project or document
    • Discuss on the terminologies to be used
    • Ask pointed questions
    • Document and share the discussion points to ensure everyone is on the same page

Written By : Vijayalaxmi Jigajini


Posts : 4
Join date : 2016-03-09

View user profile http://Technicalwritersgroup.4umer.com

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