When Your SMEs Disagree

Remember: All SMEs Are On Autopilot*

On Twitter to me:

GC: I’ve run into SME’s that insist the manual and the manufacturer’s experts are wrong.

I’m unsure as to exactly which post this refers to – as many of those published recently are viable candidate for being the stimulus for this Tweet  But I reply. And here is that short exchange…

GW: Those SMEs could be right abt other SMEs being wrong. Often IMO it’s about Context. Most things aren’t robust to all Contexts.

GW: Also: I differ between SMEs & Master Performers. But – MPs know their Context better and might be blind to issues & solutions.

GC: True, but which side do you take when a mistake could kill people? I don’t always trust that my SME’s are expert enough.

GW: I’d try to get them all together and facilitate them through the issue and any real or perceived conflict. Then test B4 use.

blog 2

Communications is probably required. And most likely, facilitated communications. IMO.

SMEs Might Disagree For Many Reasons

Or just one of many reasons. As always – it depends.

They could disagree because:

  • They are using different language to mean the same thing, but they don’t see that – yet
  • They are using the same language to mean different things, but they don’t see that – yet
  • They could be confused or ignorant of all of the stakeholders’ requirements and how to trade off any conflicts
  • They could be thinking that some metrics are more important than others
  • They could be thinking differently and specifically about how to approach and accomplish a large, complex Task-Set when many Task items might be arbitrary in their sequence
  • It could be that some see issues with an approach that others refuse to see. And one group is right and another is wrong.

What to do?

As always – it depends.

Buzz Thoughts...a

Facilitate a Communications Exchange

But my short answer would be: to get all of the stakeholders and the SMEs and Master Performers (they are different) together (and F2F is always better) – and facilitate them via a planned process that would get at both the known issues – and the unknown issues.

Maybe it’s just a simple dialogue that is needed to clear the air.

Maybe it requires some Process Mapping and use of other visual tools to help bring clarity to the issue – before it can be solved.

As always – it depends.

It depends mostly on Communications IMO. Or Mis-communications. Which I’ve written about previously – here.

And the “semantics.” Always the semantics.

As Always - It Depends -- Buzz T-Shirt Logo 003b


*All of your SMEs are on auto-pilot – as I’ve written about before – here.

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