Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Dealing with difficult SME's

I thought this may be interesting...

Learning to recognize the occasional difficult SME, and make the necessary adjustments as early as possible, can contribute tremendously to the success of a project.

There are eight Difficult SME types:
- the Know-It-All
Characteristics: may have some ID and elearning experience, opinionated and bad at listening, witholds info, suggests unrealistic improvements
Strategies: listen and admire, force them to be specific, attempt to "bring back down to earth" by discussing realities of scheduling and resources
- the Know-Nothing
Characteristics: long term ILT, wants nothing to do with eLearning, dumps information on you but doesn't collaborate, often obsequious and deferential

I am extremly dissapointed with this session. The presenters feel that their experience is the only thing that matters. Several people from the audience (including myself) brought up different other ways of handling the SME's, but the presenters negated all of these points.

So, the other types were: the MIA, the Reluctant Participant, the Kitchen Sinker, the Turf Warrior, the Worry Wart, the Nit-Picker and I am not going to take your time and describe them in detail, because the presenters' approach is pretty much the same for all types of difficult SMEs... Agree with them, validate their concerns, do what you think it's best and ask for another SME if things don't work out. Dissapointing.


  1. wow, how did you have time to write all that; i barely had time to read it all. It is very interesting and very funny. I think you should do the session on difficult SMEs -you've worked with the ultimate

  2. Good lord. You nailed it, Mon. This presentation has been recycled for 10 years.