compass on a digital looking map.

Introducing the Uncharted: Why Digital Technical Projects Can Be Intimidating for SME Stakeholders

Digital technical projects: a realm filled with jargon, complex processes, intricate planning, and often, unforeseen challenges. For those well-versed in the language and landscape, it’s a familiar territory. But for Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) stakeholders who dominate in their own fields, it’s like stepping into a dense forest without a map.

The Expert’s Plight

The very essence of being an SME is being at the top of one’s game. A seasoned non-technical SME operates with authority, seamlessly gives directions, and makes decisions based on expertise. Venturing into the world of digital and technical projects, however, presents a new paradigm. Here, the established dynamics of control and expertise are blurred, and SME stakeholders find themselves out of their comfort zone. Of course, it can feel uncomfortable.

The Fear of the Unknown

Stepping into unfamiliar terrain naturally invokes a sense of trepidation. For stakeholders accustomed to setting the direction, the underlying processes, timelines, and coordination involved in digital and technical projects are uncharted waters. It’s not about questioning their intelligence or capability but rather acknowledging the unfamiliarity they face. Completing digital and technical projects involves a different vocabulary and set of workflows from the organizations for which we create solutions. When directives are given from the SME’s standpoint of expertise, there’s clarity. But introduce elements like SEO strategies, backend integrations, or even the seemingly innocuous task of changing a single word on a website, and suddenly, the ripple effects become vast and daunting.

Take, for instance, the client who wanted to make a ‘simple’ word change on his company’s webpage. While the task itself was straightforward, it threatened to undo hours of keyword research, technical SEO measures, and an established digital marketing strategy. For the uninitiated, understanding these interdependencies isn’t always intuitive, and it is part of the digital technical project manager’s  job to navigate this.

Navigating Communication Landmines

At the heart of this challenge lies communication. As a technical project manager, one often dances on a tightrope, choosing which details to divulge to avoid overwhelming stakeholders. It’s the delicate act of providing just the right amount of insight without causing information fatigue.Too little information, stakeholders feel sidelined. Too much, especially laden with jargon, and they drown in confusion. 

Bridging the Gap: The Role of the PM

So, how does one guide an SME stakeholder through this dense forest of technicalities? By becoming their compass. As a project manager, you’re not just a coordinator but an expert in your own right. This expertise is manifested not just in understanding technical nuances but also in demonstrating impeccable professionalism: scoping projects meticulously, conducting well-structured meetings, monitoring and analyzing timelines, and maintaining stellar communication. This not only builds trust but also establishes a two-way street of respect.


Every journey into the uncharted requires a guide. In the world of digital technical projects, the project manager plays this pivotal role. With open communication, mutual respect, and the right guidance, SME stakeholders can be put at ease in the intimidating world of digital technical projects and lead to project success!

Ready to get your digital technical project started? Contact us today.