Earlier this week I made reference to SMIs or Subject Matter Idiots to avoid the TLA.
In the old days these used to be called Subject Matter Experts and they were an absolute boon to the Jack of all Trades Outsourcing Solutioning Lead. These guys would know the best and cheapest way to do all matter of clever things and would know who to check with in other areas to ensure that there were no gaps and no overlaps. Where are they now?
Tigger and I bump in to them occasionally and they are a delight to work with but we are seeing more and more SMIs. These are people that are paid like SMEs but think like they are on minimum wage. They are verging on a waste of skin. They may be nice people but having a good sense of humour and an easy going manner is not going to get me a realistic set of costs by Monday morning. I really need skill, acumen and dedication and my SMI's do not appear to be able to spell these attributes let alone present them.
Let me give you a couple of examples. Tigger and me are working with a team of about eight people. At least two of them do not actually have the ability to use a job critical tool. This means that Tigger has been forced to use it for them. This tool is fundamental to the job we all do and I am being provided with untrained support. This is a bit like expecting a Pizza delivery guy to drive an articulated lorry. He knows the "rules of the road" but is certainly not qualified to drive a 44 tonne truck.
Example number two is actually about the cheapest way to do a particular task. I have one SMI who is a really nice guy. He is willing and is doing his best but had a very high cost in his sub-project. I pointed out that he had a 1,000 man-days of work all being done in the UK and that he could very easily have 700 of those days performed by less expensive Indian labour. I told him this verbally last week and again at the beginning of this week. I put it in an e-mail to him on Tuesday and fuck me if on Friday he still had this bloody work being done in the UK. I asked him why and he advised that he was unaware of how this could be done. I pointed out to him that we had taken this approach on the last project we had won and gave him names of people that were actually doing what we proposed. I ended up having to send him copies of e-mails from the previous project to prove that his area of Speciality were doing what I said.
How on Earth am I expected to stand a cat's chance in Hell of getting a decent set of project costs together when I am working with nice people but lacking the skills or specialist knowledge they are expected to have. Now I know that everyone has got to start somewhere and 12 months ago I was a novice in this area but I had some valid background experience and I when I came across something that I didn't understand I went and asked someone who did.