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3617RE: [agile-usability] Personas

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  • Brian Weiss
    Jul 31, 2007
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      To echo the thread starter: Thanks for all the responses - I'm the only usability person in a company of 10,000+ who custom builds every system and it's nice to read these threads. As I mentioned in an earlier email, we are not a true Agile shop and in fact are alot closer to a lightweight RUP shop. This listserv was closest to any speaking to usability concepts and our software development cycle out there and that's why I joined. I don't usually jump in because of that fact but wanted to add to this conversation and didn't feel the Agile process was necessarily germain. Although I've yet to see a perfect implementation of any theoretical development process...
      To answer several emails: I get it. I understand how to present to teams - been doing it for 10+ years. I know what personas are and how to use them.
      Again though, in the case originally proposed, I've yet to see a Java coder have any impact on a front end because he understands a persona using the interface. Nor has a persona helped him or her code a servlet better. The inputs are the same regardless of the who.
      In a development meeting with developers I would not present personas. With marketing people and other business stakeholders, sure. They can bring a nice rounded context to a wireframe.
      To devs I may speak of UMLish actors, but only in the context of how they interact with the system on a data level as that is all they care about.

      Thanks again for the responses,

      Daniel Szuc <dszuc@...> wrote:
      "A good set of wire frames set in context for the group (i.e. talking about the end user thru the flow) has as much impact to the developers as would talking to personas."
      Suggest this is the right opportunity to develop Personas. So take a small % of the walkthrough time to brainstorm what we know about our users.
      Daniel Szuc
      Principal Usability Consultant
      Apogee Usability Asia Ltd
      www.apogeehk. com
      'Usability in Asia'

      The Usability Kit -
      http://www.theusabi litykit.com

      From: agile-usability@ yahoogroups. com [mailto:agile- usability@ yahoogroups. com] On Behalf Of Brian Weiss
      Sent: Wednesday, 25 July 2007 11:21 PM
      To: agile-usability@ yahoogroups. com
      Subject: Re: [agile-usability] Personas

      Sort of. We have a modified RUP/Agile process where use cases are still king but there are plenty of opportunities for face-to-face for the group and the artifacts developed are less than a full blown RUP.
      RUP, Agile, Waterfall, XP... done it all and developers still have *their context of what is a good end-user experience to contend with. Empathy won't get them to be able drop that context to look thru the user's eyes. I've yet to see one case where a DBA or a Java person can effectively drive a front-end decision because he/she understands the context or persona using the app. And besides, they just don't care that much nor should they regardless of methodology.
      I'd like to clarify that I didn't mean personas have no value but in the select case where they are being used for development staff empathy - I personally would spend my time elsewhere. Benefit vs. resource consumption. A good set of wireframes set in context for the group (i.e. talking about the end user thru the flow) has as much impact to the developers as would talking to personas.
      As for buy in/defense from a marketing stakeholder I've used them with moderate success. Maybe they aren't my forte, but they seem great in theory...in practice, less so.
      If I had a team, maybe there would be the opportunity for me to work them in more.
      Just my $.02

      Adrian Howard <adrianh@quietstars. com> wrote:

      On 25 Jul 2007, at 15:14, Brian Weiss wrote:

      > So far, the developers I've worked with don't seem to care much
      > about gaining empathy for the end-user. Not to say I haven't tried.
      > To some degree they care, but they push it off (half-jokingly) that
      > it's my "job to care". I tend to agree with them somewhat as giving
      > them freedom to make end-user decisions hasn't abated obvious no-nos.

      Is this on an agile team?


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