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Don't Feed the Subject Matter Experts (31 Aug 2004)
Vegetables and fruits were largely ignored by the SMEs, and were discontinued after the first week, when unacceptable quantities of fruit flies began to gather in the cubicle.

The most successful interactions were attained by the application of pizza. SMEs not only visited the cubicles more frequently, but also stayed to converse with the writers. When a supply of Jolt cola (a high-caffeine soft drink) was serendipitously discovered in the cubicle, the cubicle was transformed into an ad hoc speakeasy.

Although SMEs continued to show a lamentable tendency to attempt conversations with their mouths full, the increased duration of their visits provided the writers with sufficient time to ask questions, and the SMEs generally responded satisfactorily between bites. Unfortunately, this phase of the experiment was also suspended when managers began complaining

they could "never find a developer when they needed one" or that "developers are bouncing off the walls and suffering severe caffeine-withdrawal symptoms".
Article URL: http://www.stcsig.org/usability/newsletter/0408-dontfeedexperts.html

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