Persona Grata – How to Use Personas to Manage Your Requirements Better

Do you and your product management team use “Personas” while defining and managing your requirements? If not, personas may be a valuable addition to your arsenal of tools to help you manage your requirements more effectively.

What is a “Persona”?

A Persona is an abstracted representation of a typical user of your product.

For example, let us assume that your company makes Sales Force Automation (SFA) software. One of the personas can be as follows:

Scott Smith – A sales manager at an auto-parts wholesaler. He manages 7 sales reps and 1 sales administrator. He’s moderately computer savvy, and is a Type-A personality. He is responsible for quarterly team revenue goals, as well as weekly activity goals for each sales rep. He uses our software every day. He has a 4-year college degree, and is 37 years old.

How to Create Personas for Your Product

Create the personas for your product by following these simple steps:

  • Identify the major categories of users for your product
    • For our SFA software example, this could be: Sales rep, Sales manager, VP of sales, Sales admin
  • For each category of users, create a fictional persona with enough relevant details to seem like a real person
    • Relevant details include information such as Job Responsibilities, Education, Skill Level, and Frequency of Use. You may also include name, age and gender to make the persona seem more real – as in our example above.
  • Avoid unnecessary details
  • Create one persona to represent each major category of users

Observing real users using your product is one the best ways to gain the insights needed to create personas. You can create a persona by combining characteristics of several real users to represent a “typical user”.

How to Use Personas

Using personas while defining and managing requirements shifts the perspective of requirements to focus on what the users need from your product, rather than the traditional approach of what features your product should have.

Here are some steps to follow while using personas to define and manage your requirements:

  • Identify all the major personas for your product. Consider both end users and buyers of your product.
  • Prioritize the personas, based on criteria specific to your company and market.
  • Identify the needs of each persona – ideally in the form of use cases.
  • Prioritize the needs, based on ROI or other metrics.
  • Translate these needs into requirements.

Personas provide an alternative, user-centric way to manage your requirements that can be more effective than the traditional feature-centric approach to requirements management.

Editor’s Note:
Interested in an affordable, enterprise-quality software to help you manage requirements in a better way? Check out FREE 30-Day trial of Accompa or Sign Up for a Demo.

FREE Goodies! Yum…

Like This Post? Get More by Email
Get new posts like this delivered right to your inbox - for FREE...

(We value your privacy)
FREE White Paper
7 Tips for Better Requirements Management. Based on a survey of over 100 companies...
Get it now »
Requirements Tool for Your Team
Want to improve the way your team manages requirements? Accompa can help. Check out product tour -or- request FREE trial »