What Are Personas In Agile Business Analysis?

According to the IIBA:

Personas are used to understand and empathize with an intended stakeholder to align the solution with the stakeholder need.

Personas provide a detailed summary of your ideal customer including demographic traits such as location, age, job title as well as psychographic traits such as behaviours, feelings, needs, and challenges.

There are two types of persona templates. A short template that provides only the essential information and a long that contains more detailed and extended information.

A short template form is usually presented in a visual, single page form that includes customer name, photograph (usually stock images), job title, business goals, pain points, interaction behaviour, and professional bio summary.

Here is an example of a short persona template:

Example of a persona in agile business analysis 

The long persona template has more information on the users motivations, needs, and differentiators. It includes the when, how, and why users interact with the system. Some of the fundamental needs like safety and trust and the high-level needs for acceptance and validation. The differentiators included are the unique characteristics or behaviours of the user.

The number of user personas to create depends on how broad your target audience is or how many people your product/service is created for. Ideally 3 to 4 personas should be created. Remember that personas represent your most valued customers, not a generalized audience. This approach helps a team get a better understanding of who they are building the product for. Without personas, a team might ask unhelpful questions like “what should we do?” instead of a customer-focused question like “what value can the user derive from the product?”

Before you can develop detailed personas, you need live customer data that is not based on guesswork or assumptions. Some of the best practices for creating user personas include conducting customer interviews, online surveys, market research, and customer feedback requests.

As a result, team members can uncover the answer to questions like:

  • Who is our target user?
  • What are their goals and aspirations?
  • What are their challenges?
  • What stage are they in the buying journey?
  • Who is the key decision-maker?

Strengths Of Personas

  • Help you remember to put aside your own needs and to think about the customers’ needs
  • Prioritizing features
  • Develops an empathy with intended customers
  • Empirical personas
  • Personas on a hypothetical basis

Limitations Of Personas

  • Most likely, you’ll get a very stereotypical version of a person
  • Requires regular review and update

In Summary

Designers and developers use personas as guidance when developing a product that fits the needs of a specific type of end-user or multiple types of end-users. The development team may use personas to decide whether to add specific features, interactions, or visual cues to the product. Teams sometimes also use negative user personas to make sure they know who explicitly not to take into consideration when developing a product.

After the creation of personas, you and your entire team can gain more clarity on who the ideal customers are, how to communicate with them and build solutions for their needs and challenges.

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