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Project Manager vs. a Subject Matter Expert 

Properly structuring a team for the project at hand sets our firm, and more importantly, our clients, up for success. 

A typical project has many moving parts and structures in place to keep it on track. Over three decades as a management consulting firm has provided us with the expertise necessary to navigate these challenges smoothly. Building an effective team from the beginning positions your team for both implementation and depth of knowledge, and we’re going to share how we do it.  

A Matrix-Style Approach 

Public Knowledge® doesn’t believe in ‘copy and paste’ solutions. Every project is unique. Our firm uses often a matrix-style approach, allowing us to meet our client’s needs. This means we build our project teams by selecting the people with the right expertise. By taking into account the depth of their experience, where their strengths are, and subject matter expertise, we create the project team. The size of the team depends on the scope of work and timeline.

While the type of people can vary, we will always have a project manager (PM) and subject matter experts. While our PMs also have subject matter expertise, in our experience, if the PM is the only SME, this is a disservice to the client due to the conflicting nature of the roles.

Unsure of the difference between the two?  

The Role of a PM 

Overseeing all aspects of the project, a PM gives direction to everyone involved.  

  • Keep the ‘big picture’ in mind without getting lost in the details. 
  • Maintain open communication between the project team, client, and stakeholders. 
  • Explain complex concepts without the use of technical jargon. 
  • Ensure the team meets all project objectives. 

The Role of a SME 

On the other end of the spectrum, the SME provides specific expertise in a certain area.  

  • Have in-depth knowledge of a specific industry. 
  • Provide realistic deadlines and accurate time estimates due to their understanding of how long processes take.  
  • Expedite problem-solving. 

Problem Solve the PK Way 

Positive Outcomes Delivered.

We are ready to solve your tough problems.