Why Subject Matter Experts Need to be Part of Your Capacity Planning

training intake quiz

When learning leaders are analyzing their plans for training projects and whether their team has the capacity to fulfill the demand for training, it’s imperative to include more peripheral training project team members in the equation.

Subject matter experts (SMEs) are essential to the creation of effective training solutions. In a time of increasingly high demand, they are often being tasked directly with the creation of training. Or, at least, having a much more in-depth role than was previously the case. 

So what does this mean for calculating your training team’s capacity? And why is it so important to include SMEs in your capacity planning?

Don’t forget to try this interactive capacity gap calculator to see the gap between your team’s capacity and the demand for training.

1.Their availability is crucial for training project success

When planning your training projects and scheduling them based on team availability, have you confirmed that the SMEs you need have the availability required for the project?

One of the most common reasons for missed deadlines on training projects is collaboration with SMEs, either because the processes are clunky and time-consuming, the SME is difficult to get hold of, or they simply don’t have the extra time outside their day-to-day role to keep up with the project. 

This is especially true during the creation of highly specialized training when it’s not as simple as switching out one SME for another. 

2. Your team needs a heads up

By incorporating the availability of SMEs into the early stages of capacity planning and project scheduling, you can set expectations for your team  in terms of their SMEs availability.

For example, it may be better to schedule long knowledge capturing sessions with a SME than expect them to attend regular project team meetings if you know their availability is low and they may get caught up with other priorities. 

It also gives your team the time to identify alternative SMEs if they know that the project will require more availability than an existing SME is capable of providing.

training team capacity gap calculator

3. SMEs play an increasingly important role in training creation

As the demand for training in the organization soars, smaller L&D teams, and those who have had layoffs/furloughs or budget freezes, are leaning on SMEs more and more to assist in the creation of training directly.

For many, this means creating templates or acting as learning consultants to SMEs while they create new training experiences themselves. 

But the more involved a SME is in the creation of training, the more imperative it is to take this into account during the capacity analysis of your team. Some SMEs could be dedicating many hours per month to the creation of training. Taking that contribution into account will give you a far more accurate picture of your current capacity for taking on new training projects.

4. SMEs can also take up your team’s time

On the flip side of that coin, managing SMEs and overseeing their contribution to a training project is time that often goes unaccounted. But it’s those types of administrative tasks that could be taking up a huge chunk of your L&D teams’ working week. 

So it’s imperative that you see SMEs as both contributing their own time whilst taking some away from your core training team. Once you can track and analyze both of those perspectives on SMEs, you’ll develop a much more accurate picture of your training team’s capacity.

Don’t forget to calculate your team’s capacity gap for a more accurate picture of how well you’re keeping up with training demand here.

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