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Preparing your SME (Subject Matter Expert) program for the future

By 14 September 2020March 22nd, 2024Archive
Lineup: Preparing your SME program for the future

Guest post by Achille Parmentier, Lineup

We live in an age of big data, and there’s a chance that your volunteer or SME management program might not be living its best big data life. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Your team should explore opportunities to track and store as much data on your volunteers or SMEs as you can and update that information regularly to ensure proper data hygiene. While you’re at it, you should strive to make that data transparent for your team so that you can properly leverage all your newfound data.

Practice good (data) hygiene!

You never want your volunteers to tune you out, but your team should be pinging them regularly to update their information in your system. At the least, every time they participate in an event, they should be updating their profile. Outside of organization events, asking your participants to update their information annually is a good start.

Ideally, your application or survey is pulling in all the information that they’ve already provided so that they only must go in and update the things that have recently changed. Having the most up-to-date information possible is an important process in truly knowing what KSAs your volunteers have that could benefit your workgroups.

Get creative

In today’s world, there’s no excuse for not knowing granular data about your SMEs or volunteers that could potentially set them (and your workgroups) up for success. You’re probably already gathering a basic set of information like employment experience, specific areas of expertise, and relevant certifications, but what additional data could help your team create the most successful committees, workshops, or meetings?

Collect information about your SME’s output at events that require them. Are they better at a particular type of task? What soft skills do they exhibit? Do they excel at larger strategy discussion or are they the nuts-and-bolts type? Collect as much information and data as you can to arm your team with the insights needed to create a better team of volunteers.

Improve the make-up of your workgroups

Now that your team is focused on improving the state of your data, it’s time to leverage that data into better workgroups. The knowledge, skills, and abilities of your volunteers and subject matter experts are the currency your program has to create workgroups that get better outcomes. Think critically about the output needed in each workgroup that you create and the KSAs needed to get you there. Pair people with different skill levels. Make sure that your workgroup has the experience needed to get the desired outcomes. And challenge your participants to think critically by ensuring that your workgroups are diverse in gender, skills, and backgrounds. Finally, learn from your teams; take note of what worked and didn’t work and put that information in a transparent place for the rest of your team to find!

Integrate your systems

Integrating your platforms is one of the easiest ways to improve the state of your SME management program. We find in talking to our clients that it’s incredibly common for information to be siloed in teams and platforms. Work to break down those silos and make data transparent to ensure that everyone on your team has the up-to-date information and data to make the best decisions possible.

Lineup and Surpass have been collaborating to solve many of the problems SME programs face by integrating the Lineup and Surpass platforms. Connecting Surpass’ end-to-end testing services and Lineup’s SME management platform allows your program to close the information loop and provide rich and current data to your team to create better outcomes. Whether it’s Lineup’s application and surveying features, or Surpass’ innovative task management features, the integrations of these two platforms allows your team to seamlessly track and improve your workshops!

While we would love for your team to utilize the integration of the Lineup and Surpass platforms to make these improvements to your program, I would encourage your team to consider the data that you’re keeping on your participants and seek to improve that state of that data. Strive to maintain proper data hygiene by regularly pinging your volunteers to update their information and think about the data that could potentially improve your workgroups. By focusing on improving the state of your SME program and individual item writing workshops, you could end up seeing better outcomes and eventually a more defensible exam.

Learn more about both the Surpass and Lineup platforms at and, and be sure to listen to Surpass’ most recent podcast featuring Emma Hall of Surpass and Achille Parmentier of Lineup.

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