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Have you ever been staffed on a project by yourself? Can this really be anything other than just staff aug or if you are a super SME?

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Frequently, SME, it's tough.

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I did it for well over a decade. The plus side is you have a lot of agency to set your schedule and WLB. You also learn a lot about proposals, contract management, etc. Plus, being a “super SME” feels good— I really enjoyed the role of expert and once I had “branded” myself as such, it brought me a lot of interesting, smaller one-off jobs. The downside is you have no champions internally. You’re not on anyone’s radar as being indispensable to them, nor are you getting valuable mentorship from above. I *begged* for connections and to be integrated, and to build a team so I could eventually be promoted, but I was never a priority. I was billable and making money, so no one was incentivized to change that.

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That sounds rough, kudos to you for sticking to it for so long.

At that point you may as well go independent for the same role and 3x the pay

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Yep. I was staffed as a solitary SME on two different project in Deloitte GPS earlier in my career. There were other Deloitte teams on the account, but I was off on my own. I liked that I truly owned the work and client relationship, but I had zero support from Deloitte. I had a monthly check-in with one of the SMs on the account leadership team, but that was it. Never got the requested additional resources or ever had a backstop, so that part of it sucked, but I had a flexible work schedule and really had good WLB for those two engagements. All that said, I wouldn't do it again by choice.

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Yup. Started as a multi country project and then turned into staff aug post go live where I was the local SME. At some point you need to decide what is best for career growth or risk stagnating with nobody able to really vouch for you internally.

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