Monday, July 14, 2008

Please Stop Throwing Stuff at Me!!!!

One day I am going to sit down and create a taxonomy of SMEs......

Karyn and I have been having a conversation between our blogs and comments about SMEs whose idea of "training" consists of throwing lots of material at the student.

And the "objective" I am always given by the content-throwers when I ask is - "They need to understand X."

Sorry - that is a cop-out!

You provide information because you want them to actually DO something with it. Even if it is as simple as stopping before they do something and calling someone for help.

This is true even with the "mandatory training." Because a mandatory training was either created as a result of someone DOING something they shouldn't have OR as a result of a behavior they must demonstrate in the future. (If someone has an example of a mandatory training that does not fit one of these categories, please send me a message in the comments.)

(Wendy steps off her soapbox)
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One of my projects requires me to shuffle through a lot of information and attempt to put it in some order.

On my desk right now:
- a homegrown 48 slide powerpoint
- a 96 slide powerpoint given as an example of what they would like to see
- a purple 5 page document (Times New Roman 12 point font, single space) from the US Government
- a yellow bulleted document, front and back from the client department. (Times New Roman 12 point font, single space)
- A paper decision tree.

This does not include the 6 browser windows I have open with various reference sites for the project.

The "professional" way I should have approached it - facilitate the SME as she provides information and the script for the final product.

What I actually did - grab all of the material and put a prototype together praying that we will have an actual talking point. Placed big red boxes in the middle of pages where I couldn't find the information myself or had questions. Hope that the end product actually works.

So what is the best way to work with a content-thrower SME?

What are your recommendations for making sure the SME is involved in the process while not overwhelming you with information that doesn't meet the objective, but HAS TO BE IN THERE?

If you blog - please send me a comment with a link.

Thanks for your help.

4 comments:

lynn wernham said...

Have you seen this from Cathy Moore?

http://2coach.wordpress.com/2008/05/13/action-design/

Karyn Romeis said...

...and when you get that one solved, please let the rest of us know!

Cammy Bean said...

Throw sheep at 'em!

Wendy said...

Cammy - I tried throwing chickens, but they decided to nest in the paperwork instead.

Karyn - Yup, as soon as I get it all figured out, I'm going to make millions as a consultant ;' )