Monday, July 21, 2014

Building Personas

(also published on LinkedIn)
From my last post you may have garnered my desire to begin using some of the Pragmatic Marketing training and incorporating the best ideas into my current projects. Specifically, I began creating personas to use within the user stories and to support each development effort by providing additional context for the team members. When I broached the idea with the development team I initially was met with silence. On further discussion with some of the team members I received a rather interesting response "Well, yeah those are fine for UI but they really aren't useful to a developer." I met this with a bit of dismay - I really thought they would buy into the idea of providing additional context, as the current development groups (we went from a highly efficient team to several inexperienced teams) need all the context they can get. The counter-argument I received had to do with security settings and how typical UI-type personas did not provide enough information to determine access controls. It's interesting how some of those same members who desire efficient agile teams argue against using tools to make it so.

To reinforce the idea, a recent CSPO class emphasized the same thing - provide personas that can be used to help get the team into the mind of the user. At this point I could use some hard data to support the idea (mostly to get buy-in from the team) so anyone out there reading, if you have some fact-based analysis I that I can use it would be helpful in supporting my ideas. In the meanwhile, I'm continuing to build my personas to support epics/stories going forward, hopefully this will nudge the team into being more accepting. As to the question of security settings and access controls, it seems that if the personal has a well defined description and these are of importance, the information can be added into the personal description, no?

In any case, I'm currently defining personas for about a dozen different user-interacting roles into the current application. More updates to follow.

-- John

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