The meaning of SME: definitions, examples and more
What is the meaning of SME? In the modern world of work, some work and management techniques have now become established though they were not taught in training or studies. Instead, these were learned in the context of company training opportunities and subsequent use in practice. Since such advanced training courses are usually organized as on-the-job training, the time available is of course limited.
Seminars for working people are usually short and intensive. Accordingly, professional training companies or trainers pay particular attention to the practical design of the curricula and focus on practical application. Such knowledge acquisition can be objectively proven by a certificate examination at the request of the participant.
Especially when you complete different methods and levels and want to appear as an SME (we will go into the definition of SME in a moment), such evidence is indispensable.
Basically, the meaning of SME is simply subject matters expert. To get closer to this acronym, we explain below the meaning of SME in business and the meaning of SME in a company context.
The meaning of SME: A clear SME definition does not exist
The acronym SME has its origins in the field of project management. The role of the SME was described in a management method and is still used today as a sensible basis for an SME definition. In theory, a person can become an SME in any field, but here we focus on the meaning of SME in business and in companies.
A subject matters expert is characterized by extensive knowledge and, of course, experience in a specific area. Depending on the perspective, this area can be particularly narrow but also particularly broad. One feature of the meaning of the SME definition is that the importance of what an SME has to offer a company can vary. The meaning of SME depends on the industry, company and, of course, project goals. Subject matter experts not only have experience in their own specialist area, but also beyond. If several SMEs work together in a team, you should understand the importance of their qualifications:
> One meaning of SME is to be conscious about the necessity to be able to teach others and learn from others. Exchanging knowledge for example is a crucial process of how IFAAI works on designing exams and content
In the area of agile methods, SMEs often work as freelancers
The meaning of being a SME often proves to be profitable for the respective person: Companies appreciate the expertise and often offer well-paid positions. Since typical SMEs, in addition to their experience and specialist knowledge, also have corresponding certifications from their own further training, the salary often cannot do justice to the respective level of knowledge. As a result, it only makes sense for many SMEs to go freelance.
A good example is provided by the agile methods for which the IFAAI offers certificate exams. In this way, practical basic knowledge is imparted quickly and reliably, but only those who use them regularly and consistently over the years can learn the subtleties of various techniques. Coupled with corresponding further training in the field of pedagogy and didactics, this implies for the meaning of SME in business that the coaches are charismatic and motivating coaches who also do justice to even the most unusual questions about agile work techniques.
The services of SMEs are also specifically requested by companies in the context of company training opportunities. Many SMEs are used daily as in-house coaches and then devote themselves to the question of how certain internal company problems can be better processed with the use of agile methods (or other techniques).
You can find out how to become a successful SME and which requirements you must meet in our article “Becoming an SME”. You can also find more information about our offer at any time on our website.