Personas are one method to better understand what needs to be delivered to whoever your users are. It's important to think of the various people that will be involved with your future application. The idea of personas dates back to the 1993-1994 era.
Over time, the acceptance of them has grown and is certainly a more common practice with Agile. However, the idea was conceived before Agile was spawned, and personas are helpful no matter which method you use.
"Keep them lightweight. Don't go overboard on detailed descriptions. It's counter-intuitive, but the more detailed the Personas are, the more it confines the team to expand their own thoughts about what is needed. They tend to get locked into serving the Persona as described vs. using the Persona as a starting point to understand clearly what the Persona's goals ultimately are – ease of use, the speed of decision making, etc. There are many ways to meet these goals. Remember, it is the Why and not the How. The photo of the Persona needs to be a real person, not an icon or cartoon, smiling, and enjoying the results of using your application. They need to be distinct and memorable. Don't use celebrities as preconceived notions are hard to shake. Tips on using Google Images that are not copyrighted are explained below..."
About the Author
ASPE’s Rob Snowden is an expert Business Analyst and a veteran Technology Architect. He has worked as a Requirements Analyst, requirements manager, management consultant, project manager and, JAD facilitator. He is an expert in requirements analysis and business analysis. He is a lead instructor in the ASPE Business Analysis Curriculum and has extensive experience as a consultant for many major Fortune clients. Rob is an accomplished corporate trainer, teaching courses in business analysis, requirements development, use cases, strategic planning, project planning and facilitating JAD sessions. He has planned and facilitated hundreds of workshops including project planning workshops, strategic planning events, JAD requirements sessions and many other types of collaborative solution workshops for organizations both in the United States and abroad. As a seasoned expert in business analysis and system requirements and analysis, Rob is both a gifted and experienced enterprise trainer and real-world project/business veteran.
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