I’m reading “Managing the Gray Areas” by Jerry Manas right now. Jerry makes a number of excellent points throughout [I’m about 1/2 way through]. I found his observations about natural communication gaps in managing projects, particularly as it relates to communications with SMEs [Subject Matter Experts] and Generalists.
He goes on to say that all projects need a mix of both type individuals to be successful, one having extreme knowledge at the detail level and the other having a systemic view for the overall project outcome, purpose, and goals.
Jerry points out that SMEs generally don’t communicate well, with each other and with generalists. Much of this is due to their extreme focus on detail. This causes natural gaps in communication at the friction points or interface points in a project. This lack of communication is a significant problem in that these points almost always have over-lapping functionality and requirements, so having gaps really hinders work flow and progress.
Additionally, there are often huge gaps in communication between the SMEs and Generalists on the project. This miscommunication or lack thereof, can cause very serious problems even at the very early stages when outlining that project scope. Communication issues occur throughout whether the communications are from the Generalist or SME or visa versa.
One of the roles of a good Project Manager is to facilitate these conversations, ensuring there is a mutual understanding for all project team members.