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16 Mar SME – subject matter expert

Isixsigma suggests that an SME (not to be confused with a small to medium-sized enterprise) is the “individual who exhibits the highest level of expertise in performing a specialized job, task, or skill within the organization.” In fact there can be multiple SMEs in each area, though this is often not the case. Organizations that have the luxury of appointing data or process stewards or woners may formalize this role in named persons, but subject matter expertise, while clearly the most important knowledge asset in a company, is seldom formalized effectively.

Isixsigma goes on to say “An SME might be a software engineer, a helpdesk support operative, an accounts manager, a scientific researcher: in short, anybody with in-depth knowledge of the subject you are attempting to document. You need to talk to SMEs in the research phase of a documentation project (to get your facts straight) and you need to involve them in the technical validation of your drafts (to make sure that your interpretation of information matches theirs).”

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