Stopping the Fake Subject Matter Expert (SME) from Derailing Your Project

Read This If: You want to ensure you are basing your projects value on input from true subject matter expert (for any type of project).

A fake subject matter expert or SME can derail a project. Improvements to your business should be based on the best information you have access to, not outdated or incorrect information. The acronym “SME” seems to pop-up everywhere. I agree that saying “subject matter expert” does not flow as well as SME, but the phrase drives home that the person should be an expert (and in the right subject)!

Subject matter experts are used on projects from IT Strategy, to business process improvement, to software development, to organizational change . . . to name a few. They are supposed to impart the wisdom of what is actually happening, and often, what is needed. But if they are NOT an expert, then what? Are you basing the success of your project on poor information?

So what exactly is a fake SME? The basic premise is that they are someone who appears or pretends to be a subject matter expert, but is not. There are many types, but let me outline some of the more common ones: