Although not rare birds in urban high-tech environments, technical subject matter experts (SMEs) are a fascinating species to observe—and a challenging breed for corporate communicators to manage. This tongue-in-cheek field guide identifies four common sub-species, and explains how to spot each by its distinctive markings and how to cope with its behaviors for companionable nesting.
As a programmer or developer, the Subject Matter Expert is concerned about developing code that is bug free and serves the client's purpose. They need to have task wise in-depth technical orientation, which often results in having a limited perspective of the user requirement. But those who wish to swap into the technical writing arena are required to have an in-depth overview and analytical outlook of the user perspective and the project in its entirety. As a Technical Writer, the Subject Matter Expert has to understand the user's mindset. Identifying the target audience, producing a document that will answer their questions readily and meeting their expectations is no easy job.