"Personas are a waste of time" Me "why?, tell me more"


We often get resistance to a new way of thinking and approaching design problems, my Lean Six Sigma training taught me, if you look at a process and you can't see tangilble value, or your client doesn't see the value. Then that step/artefact is "waste". A waste of time, a waste of money and a waste of resources.

I agree. During my time with a client on a monster sized project, personas were a defined output of the consultant designers role. We had to produce them, and they went through rounds of review and approval, to get the rubber stamp for stage gate 1. I remember it was early in my design thinking path, and I didn't see the point for creating a bespoke set of personas for discrete applications, when all the applications being developed in the program were serving the same people or user base.

So I went about, grabbing a couple from another project, changing a few details the bio pic and submitted for approval. Guess what, Yup they sailed through. My set of personas with no research, and made up shit was accepted and endorsed. Awesome done, and that then cemented my thinking "What a waste of time"

I don't agree. Now I have been in the design thinking space for over 10+ years as a consultant working in Service Design, Interaction and UI Design, UX Architect working to Snr exec. Personas have crept back into my toolkit, and you know you why? Now they are built based on solid research and they return VALUE. I do this by designing a persona that has a problem to solve, and mapping those problems to goals and value statements.

So now a persona that was a bit of data on the screen, has life, has meaning and has value. Go back to my lean training, is it now waste? Nup.

Lets look at how we return and quantify value of our personas, and how that value is presented in our service journey down to the tangible digital experience.

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