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SMEs and Documentation Specialists

Yesterday, I wrote that product managers should not rely on SMEs as their primary source for requirements. I will now go further and state that, to the extent that a company hires a product manager or business analyst to interact primarily with SMEs, the role names "product manager" and "business analyst" are misnomers. I see this problem often in companies. They believe they already know the requirements (often confused with design); they are just looking for someone to document them so that developers can get to work. They call the person who does this documenting a "product manager" or "business analyst", but this person in fact has only a small - and very tactical - subset of the responsibilities that these roles entail. In my opinion, this problem is largely responsible for the misconception that SMEs are primary sources for requirements.

Comments

Dave said…
Users are supposed to be the source of requirements. Then, the economic buyer. If the user is an SME, then that's fine. If the programmer is the SME, sorry, no. If the economic buyer is the source, then the users are toast.

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