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RE: [agile-usability] Building Agile Personas

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  • Larry Constantine
    Hi Paritosh, You are correct about personas. For agile design and development, there are better approaches. The first is to carry out model-driven inquiry
    Message 1 of 7 , Apr 11 9:28 AM
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      Hi Paritosh,

       

      You are correct about personas. For agile design and development, there are better approaches. The first is to carry out model-driven inquiry instead of an open ended ethnographic field study or extended contextual inquiry that generates tons of “data”. Instead, you start with exploratory modeling to identify areas for short, focused field inquiry. Then the model is refined and completed as needed for the immediate design.

       

      The second is to employ user roles instead of fully fledged personas. The latter include a great deal of “noise” that serves primarily to make the persona seem real but has little or nothing to do with good design. User roles, as constructed in usage-centered design or activity-directed design, are collections of responsibilities, needs, interests, and expectations of the actor within the role within an activity. A role focuses on the relationship between an actor in role and a designed artifact of interest. In other words, a user role is centered on the important stuff with the greatest impact on good interaction design and user experience in interaction with the designed artifact. It does not waste time on all that “other stuff” that makes personas fun and interesting but offers little leverage for the agile designer.

       

      For agile projects: model-driven inquiry with user roles instead of ethnographic/contextual inquiry and personas.

       

      Prof. Larry Constantine, IDSA, ACM Fellow

      Universidade da Madeira | Madeira Interactive Technologies Institute

      Gabinete 2.56 | int'l m: +44 792.447.5358

       

       

       

      From: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com [mailto:agile-usability@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of paritoshc1
      Sent: Thursday, 11 April, 2013 01:56
      To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [agile-usability] Building Agile Personas

       

       

      Hello Everyone,

       

      I am familiar with personas as Cooper describes in About Face, but am just getting started with Agile.

       

      Building real research based personas is a time taking activity, and kind of waterfall-ish: research->analyze data->... ... ->publish personas.

       

      For a sprint which is 2 or 3 weeks, how can we do all that without compromising on conducting qualitative research? 

      (I believe assumption personas are useless and sometimes counterproductive.)

       

      Thanks in advance.

       

      Regards,

      Paritosh

    • joshseiden
      I just want to chime in with 98% endorsement of what Larry says here. I made a lot of Cooper style personas when I worked at Cooper. I disagree with Larry that
      Message 2 of 7 , Apr 12 7:59 AM
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        I just want to chime in with 98% endorsement of what Larry says here.

        I made a lot of Cooper style personas when I worked at Cooper. I disagree with Larry that all that narrative stuff "offers little leverage." I think that stuff is really really valuable to the creative process. That said, creating those personas with all that narrative stuff is really hard, and really hard to get right, so I've stopped recommending the technique. I just think it's important to understand why designers do it.

        As to the model-driven inquiry portion of Larry's post, I completely agree. In agile environments, I now use a very simplified model of personas. This model starts as a collection of assumptions. If you stop there, the model will have some value, but not much. The key to using this approach is that you have to engage in continuous customer research through the life of project and use that research to continuously update your model. In this way, the persona becomes *a representation of what you know now.* That's a really important construct, and one that's worth maintaining.

        JS



        --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com, "Larry Constantine" <lconstantine@...> wrote:
        >
        > Hi Paritosh,
        >
        >
        >
        > You are correct about personas. For agile design and development, there are
        > better approaches. The first is to carry out model-driven inquiry instead of
        > an open ended ethnographic field study or extended contextual inquiry that
        > generates tons of "data". Instead, you start with exploratory modeling to
        > identify areas for short, focused field inquiry. Then the model is refined
        > and completed as needed for the immediate design.
        >
        >
        >
        > The second is to employ user roles instead of fully fledged personas. The
        > latter include a great deal of "noise" that serves primarily to make the
        > persona seem real but has little or nothing to do with good design. User
        > roles, as constructed in usage-centered design or activity-directed design,
        > are collections of responsibilities, needs, interests, and expectations of
        > the actor within the role within an activity. A role focuses on the
        > relationship between an actor in role and a designed artifact of interest.
        > In other words, a user role is centered on the important stuff with the
        > greatest impact on good interaction design and user experience in
        > interaction with the designed artifact. It does not waste time on all that
        > "other stuff" that makes personas fun and interesting but offers little
        > leverage for the agile designer.
        >
        >
        >
        > For agile projects: model-driven inquiry with user roles instead of
        > ethnographic/contextual inquiry and personas.
        >
        >
        >
        > Prof. Larry Constantine, IDSA, ACM Fellow
        >
        > Universidade da Madeira | Madeira Interactive Technologies Institute
        >
        > Gabinete 2.56 | int'l m: +44 792.447.5358
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > From: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
        > [mailto:agile-usability@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of paritoshc1
        > Sent: Thursday, 11 April, 2013 01:56
        > To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
        > Subject: [agile-usability] Building Agile Personas
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Hello Everyone,
        >
        >
        >
        > I am familiar with personas as Cooper describes in About Face, but am just
        > getting started with Agile.
        >
        >
        >
        > Building real research based personas is a time taking activity, and kind of
        > waterfall-ish: research->analyze data->... ... ->publish personas.
        >
        >
        >
        > For a sprint which is 2 or 3 weeks, how can we do all that without
        > compromising on conducting qualitative research?
        >
        > (I believe assumption personas are useless and sometimes counterproductive.)
        >
        >
        >
        > Thanks in advance.
        >
        >
        >
        > Regards,
        >
        > Paritosh
        >
      • desireesy
        Paritosh, I think the way to approach agile personas is to not think of building personas as a heavy, up-front activity. All of the ideas mentioned so far are
        Message 3 of 7 , Apr 12 10:08 AM
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          Paritosh,

          I think the way to approach agile personas is to not think of building personas as a heavy, up-front activity. All of the ideas mentioned so far are great starting points. In addition, I'd encourage you to embrace the agile principles of working iteratively, continuously, and collaboratively by (to steal a LeanUX phrase) getting out of the building as you begin both design and implementation work. Refine and update your understanding of who is using your products as you are incrementally creating them. This is particularly important because as you introduce new capabilities to your users, those capabilities will change their behaviour and expectations.

          The key to keeping this lightweight is to move away from thinking of written persona documents as the deliverables. Come up with vivid, quick ways of sharing the new observations with your team as quickly as possible. So your job isn't to capture problems and insights, but to get solutions for those into the product as quickly as possible. You can update your team's understanding of the persona very quickly, but the documents are only an artifact -- it's making sure the team gets the information that's key.

          -Desirée

          --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com, "Larry Constantine" <lconstantine@...> wrote:
          >
          > Hi Paritosh,
          >
          >
          >
          > You are correct about personas. For agile design and development, there are
          > better approaches. The first is to carry out model-driven inquiry instead of
          > an open ended ethnographic field study or extended contextual inquiry that
          > generates tons of "data". Instead, you start with exploratory modeling to
          > identify areas for short, focused field inquiry. Then the model is refined
          > and completed as needed for the immediate design.
          >
          >
          >
          > The second is to employ user roles instead of fully fledged personas. The
          > latter include a great deal of "noise" that serves primarily to make the
          > persona seem real but has little or nothing to do with good design. User
          > roles, as constructed in usage-centered design or activity-directed design,
          > are collections of responsibilities, needs, interests, and expectations of
          > the actor within the role within an activity. A role focuses on the
          > relationship between an actor in role and a designed artifact of interest.
          > In other words, a user role is centered on the important stuff with the
          > greatest impact on good interaction design and user experience in
          > interaction with the designed artifact. It does not waste time on all that
          > "other stuff" that makes personas fun and interesting but offers little
          > leverage for the agile designer.
          >
          >
          >
          > For agile projects: model-driven inquiry with user roles instead of
          > ethnographic/contextual inquiry and personas.
          >
          >
          >
          > Prof. Larry Constantine, IDSA, ACM Fellow
          >
          > Universidade da Madeira | Madeira Interactive Technologies Institute
          >
          > Gabinete 2.56 | int'l m: +44 792.447.5358
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > From: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
          > [mailto:agile-usability@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of paritoshc1
          > Sent: Thursday, 11 April, 2013 01:56
          > To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
          > Subject: [agile-usability] Building Agile Personas
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > Hello Everyone,
          >
          >
          >
          > I am familiar with personas as Cooper describes in About Face, but am just
          > getting started with Agile.
          >
          >
          >
          > Building real research based personas is a time taking activity, and kind of
          > waterfall-ish: research->analyze data->... ... ->publish personas.
          >
          >
          >
          > For a sprint which is 2 or 3 weeks, how can we do all that without
          > compromising on conducting qualitative research?
          >
          > (I believe assumption personas are useless and sometimes counterproductive.)
          >
          >
          >
          > Thanks in advance.
          >
          >
          >
          > Regards,
          >
          > Paritosh
          >
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