Influencing Subject Matter Experts

Todd Fleming

Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) are required resources for most business projects. They are typically employees that have significant, deep knowledge about a critical aspect of the project.  They are typically not part of the core project team, and most often do not report directly to the team manager. Influencing SMEs in some organizations can make the difference between meeting the project goals and project failure.

The ability to influence the SMEs in these situations is critical. The following are some of the techniques that can help guide SME engagement, input and timeliness so that the project can proceed on track.

Identification process

SMEs who want to participate in the project are far more likely to be engaged and meet commitments. Often, the identification process is one where senior leaders pick people to participate as SMEs. Usually, those participants do not have the time or interest. It is often beneficial to…

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