If you aim to make your organization more customer-oriented, the focus should be on building a good persona. Your organization’s persona is highly crucial no matter what industry you belong to. 

The reason? 

For starters, personas collect and define essential information about your consumers. Personas also visualize your consumers’ use habits and interests. User personas can: Help you develop your product or service. Help you improve and plan future developments. It lets you brainstorm new ideas. Target your audience more accurately. 

So, if you’re wondering how to build a fantastic persona? We can help you get on board. All you need to do is follow our 13 easy steps, and you’ll get an ideal persona. 

So, without further ado, let’s dig in.

What is a persona in Agile Product Development?

While working on a project, the team creates detailed and synthetic biographies to focus on the user experience first. These biographies are of imaginary users of the future product. And these biographies are known as “personas.” 

Personas are fictionalized representations of typical users of your goods, services, website, and so on. They are used to develop a picture of your consumers, including their preferences, traits, decision-making processes, and so on, by creating profiles of typical users.

Agile personas are visual and concise. The most common layout of a persona is a page that includes name, social, professional, demographic details, and a photograph. For instance, “Chris Jordan, 32, CEO, at a software development organization”. 

In a software development project, more than one persona is required. Because a software product is generally used by different people with different expectations and preferences, the agile team creates different personas that serve different requirements. 

Persona is a great way to understand user behavior and user motivations. While it’s not a magic formula, it can increase the likelihood of a great user experience. 

There are two common approaches to understanding user behavior and designing the right user experience:

  1. Organizations that use visualizations to show their user journey. 
  2. Organizations that use personas to bridge the gap between user research and design implementation. 

Visualizations are crucial to understanding how customers act. That’s why it’s important to have a good persona to visualize the entire user journey. 

Lastly, remember not to confuse personas with other tools like user roles and market segments because personas are created for users rather than buyers.

What are the benefits of creating a Persona?

Building a persona in agile product development for users can help you learn- Who are your customers? What are their personal and professional pain points? What are their professional and personal goals? What influences their buying decision? Other than these questions, here are a few more important benefits of building personas:

  • Creating an agile persona can help you understand every client’s specific need. Understanding clients’ needs can help your developers, product manager, and designers deliver products that solve the real issues of the users. 
  • A good persona can help you visualize the “user story.” Also, this allows the teams to have a shared understanding of who their customers are. 
  • By creating a persona, you can know about customers’ needs, challenges, and behavioral influencers. This way, you can create products, content, and marketing communication that appeal to the best. 
  • Using a persona can improve your product. If you know what your potential customers want, you can customize your product’s features accordingly to make it more valuable. 
  • After using a persona, your marketing approach will be more relatable. It will help your marketing team understand customers better. They can use persona information to make an engaging, relatable marketing strategy that talks directly to your target audience.

13 Easy Tips to create a persona in agile

Now that you know the benefits of using a persona, here are a few tips to create them so that your agile team can use them ideally:

1. Collect the information about your users: The first step to creating an ideal persona is researching your users or potential clients. Determine why people use your product and which features they like the most. For example, if you’re building an e-commerce site, you can see what page they’re on now what they want to see in future upgrades. Which features and functionalities do they value most. 

Ask your users these questions-

  • What’s their age?
  • What’s their location?
  • What’s the title of their job role?
  • How’s their family life?
  • How are they using your product?
  • Why do you use your product?
  • Issues they struggle with in life.
  • What are their goals in life? 

You can find out about your customers by doing interviews, surveys, and polls. Also, many free tools are available in the market for analyzing user activity. For instance:

Google Analytics: Google analytics and social media analytics like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn Insights can help you get users’ data. 

Online Forums: you can join different online forums and join closed groups where your target audience hangs out and shares their pain points—for instance, Quora and Reddit. 

Team Meetings: Have meetings with your team members, especially those who interact with your targeted clients regularly.

2. Analyze Data: Once you’ve done the research, it’s time to analyze the data. Again, make sure to be open-minded while analyzing the users’ data because your goal is to create real personas and not your narrative. 

While analyzing the data look for similarities and differences. This information will help you identify more than one type of persona. However, less is best to stay focused and specific when it comes to personas. After all, you can’t target everyone.

3. Keep your Persona Simple and Concise: Although the goal of an agile persona is to help your team members understand the potential clients of your product, make sure to keep it simple and concise so that they fit on an A4 size paper. 

Also, don’t write too much information or irrelevant details. Personas with irrelevant details are challenging to work with. So, include information that helps you decide product functionality, user interaction, and visual design. 

Write mini-manifestos that describe the key attributes of the user persona. Create user personas and prioritize them based on your company’s culture. Gather scenario data to help the team understand the situation of the user, i.e., data for customer stories. Make sure that the personas created through user research fit the situation of the product/service. Create scenarios from the scenario list. Make them simple.

Create scenarios that depict our team experience. Create scenarios that describe our data usage— a brainstorm to explore why a scenario exists and what it means for the team. 

4. Create personas and prioritize them: Prioritize persona based on these questions- Your ideal client? Do you know whether your firm prioritizes this group? Do you know your user’s market, industry, and business size? Of course, some people react differently to specific circumstances. But user interface design concepts apply to everyone.

Creating and prioritizing agile personas may improve users’ communication, highlight possible problems (data errors, performance difficulties), and show how important components will work together to address them.

5. Make them Real: While creating an agile persona, ensure you’re keeping it real so that your team can humanize it. For example, write real names and pain points; avoid clichés. Including information helps your team understand the persona as a human. Also, add a real photo and not a stock image for profile photos.

6. Concentrate on the essential benefit or issue: We often come across people who have a lengthy list of goals. Therefore, it is permissible to include more than one issue that should be solved or benefit provided when creating a persona description. 

However, instead of concentrating on numerous issues or advantages, focus on one primary problem or benefit—the real reason why the persona would want to use or buy the product. It helps to keep things focused and makes intelligent choices simpler. Prioritize the goals and put the primary goal at the head of the list if you think the aims of the other personas are too essential to leave out.

7. Make your persona convincing: Consider individuals from your personas to help the development team empathize with customers and experience the product through their eyes. Of course, your identities must be trustworthy for this to happen. The three ideas below will help you in this endeavor: Personas should be created through first-hand user research (as discussed above). Next, select a representative’s name and a representative’s image. Finally, personas should be developed and maintained in cooperation with the development team. 

8. Members of the Development Team Should Be Involved: Even the finest persona descriptions are useless if the intended users do not comprehend or accept them. That’s why ensure to include (part of) the development team in the persona creation process.

The people would have been involved in the user research that created the personas in an ideal world. If that’s not feasible, discuss the first persona descriptions with the team and get comments. You should avoid including superfluous or speculative information in your descriptions, but be ready to modify them to make them more understandable.

9. Don’t Forget to Update Your Personas: As you learn more about users and customers and their requirements via developing prototypes and product increments, you may adjust your persona descriptions. Working in an agile environment is especially helpful since you want to minimize the amount of early market research and start with provisional, good-enough personas to test your critical ideas rapidly. Then, based on your information, you should adjust and improve your personality. If you find yourself having to pivot and alter your product strategy, rewrite your personas or create whole new ones.

10. Recognize when personas aren’t necessary: Recognize when personalities are inappropriate. Personas are a great tool, but they aren’t always appropriate. Personas may not be needed if you create a tailored product for a small user base. Similarly, building personas for a product with no end users are not advised.

11. Make them Appealing: You will use personas in every business process, so don’t make it dull. Make the persona appealing by using icons, brand logos, colors, fonts, illustrations. While writing the details of the users, break the persona using bullets, bolding, highlights, and italics. You can also use graphs and charts to visualize the personal information to create a better user experience.

12. Refine your Persona: After writing your persona, share it with your entire team to gather feedback. Each team member may hold different perspectives about the persona and its information. So, let them analyze the persona to identify any errors or points you’ve missed.

13. Use them Everywhere: You can use the agile persona from marketing to software development almost anywhere. So, include your persona in every relevant business process and give its access to your entire team.

The Bottom Line

User personas may be confused with basic demographics, but the process must go much farther than that to be successful. It is not only essential to include demographic information such as gender, age, social grouping, and location in personas, but it is also important to include information that provides a complete understanding of the user. Although all of this is useful in the initial definition and positioning, it keeps evolving. 

The following are some examples of areas that you can include in such an analysis:

  • Time spent online Devices used to connect to the internet
  • Types of websites visited Media consumed (how and when)
  • Purchasing habits and trends
  • Interests and hobbies

The list might go on, but the main point is that the data helps businesses construct a picture of the user as a consumer of not just goods and services but also of views and trends, attitudes, beliefs, etc. It results in an overall profile that may suggest that a potential client visit your sites, access certain kinds of marketing material, and eventually consume your goods.

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Author's Bio

Naveen is a Lean-Agile Coach, Professional Scrum Trainer (PST) and Internationally acclaimed Speaker in many Conferences and Agile events. He has over 22 years of experience in multiple domains and he is a Certified LeSS Practitioner (Large-Scale Scrum) and one of the early adopters of DevOps practices and teaches DevOps culture around the Globe.