In the intricate landscape of software development, having a knowledgeable subject matter expert (SME) at the helm can be a game-changer. However, when these experts delegate the design phase to individuals unfamiliar with the intricacies of the system’s end-users, it often sets the stage for failure. In this blog post, we’ll explore the perils of software projects when SMEs relinquish design decisions to those who lack a deep understanding of the users and their needs.

  1. Mismatched Vision and User Needs:

Delegating design decisions to individuals who are not intimately acquainted with the end-users can lead to a misalignment of vision. The SME, armed with domain expertise, may have a clear understanding of user requirements, but this knowledge must be effectively communicated to the design team. Failure in this communication bridge can result in solutions that don’t resonate with the actual needs and preferences of the target audience.

  1. User Experience Disconnection:

Effective software design is not just about functionality; it’s about crafting a seamless and intuitive user experience. When those responsible for design lack insight into the end-users’ workflow, preferences, and pain points, the resulting interface may be cumbersome and fail to meet user expectations. A disjointed user experience can lead to dissatisfaction and, ultimately, project failure.

  1. Incomplete Requirement Understanding:

Design decisions are tightly intertwined with project requirements. Delegating design responsibilities to individuals unfamiliar with the users can lead to an incomplete understanding of the nuanced requirements. This can result in overlooked features, misunderstood functionalities, and a final product that falls short of addressing the comprehensive needs of the target audience.

  1. Ineffective Communication Channels:

SMEs play a crucial role not just in understanding user needs but also in effectively communicating those needs to the design team. Delegating this responsibility to someone less familiar with the end-users can result in a breakdown of communication channels. Important details may be lost in translation, leading to a design that lacks the depth and precision necessary for success.

  1. Increased Iteration Cycles:

Design decisions made without a clear understanding of user needs often lead to increased iteration cycles. As the project progresses, it becomes evident that adjustments are needed to align the design with user expectations. These iterative cycles not only extend the project timeline but also increase development costs and the likelihood of client dissatisfaction.

  1. Quality Assurance Challenges:

Design decisions impact not only the user interface but also the overall functionality of the software. When the design team lacks a comprehensive understanding of user needs, quality assurance becomes a challenging task. Testing scenarios may miss critical user-centric test cases, resulting in a product that lacks robustness and fails to meet user expectations.

  1. Client Discontent and Project Delays:

Ultimately, delegating design decisions without considering the end-users can lead to client discontent and project delays. Clients invest in software solutions to address specific needs, and when the end product diverges from their expectations due to inadequate design decisions, dissatisfaction ensues. Project delays, caused by necessary design adjustments, further exacerbate the situation.


While subject matter experts bring invaluable domain knowledge to software projects, the delegation of design decisions requires careful consideration. To avoid the pitfalls associated with handing over this crucial responsibility to those unfamiliar with the end-users, SMEs must prioritize effective communication, collaboration, and a shared vision with the design team. Only by ensuring that the design decisions align with the nuanced needs of the users can software projects hope to achieve success and deliver a product that truly meets the expectations of its intended audience. In the intricate dance of software development, the choreography of design decisions must be orchestrated with precision and a deep understanding of the users’ needs.

Preview of all 10 Clips:

  1. Design Effort
  2. Experts are Too Busy
  3. Razor Thin Budget
  4. No Time to Test or Improve
  5. Didn’t Communicate Well
  6. Subject Matter Experts Delegated the Design
  7. Weak Value
  8. Wrong Project Leader
  9. Poor Stake Holder Adoption
  10. Didn’t Keep in Simple

Start from Tip #1:

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