How do you get everybody in your company to understand your customers — especially if you’re not 100% certain yourself? You ‘got out of the building’ and you’ve talked to your customers, but how do you communicate and build on what you’ve learned when you get back?
Traditionally this meant a lot of up front effort in interviewing customers, synthesising it into insights and then presenting it back as personas. In this ProductTank talk, Adrian Howard argues that these “set and forget” personas are expensive, both in terms of the effort to build them, and the damage they can do to your product. They take too long to develop and become set in stone, unable to keep up with the changing realities around the user.
Adrian instead advocates a lean approach and lean personas, something he calls “incremental personas”. This allows him to define, refine and realign personas on the fly throughout the development effort to make sure they’re always as up to date as possible while also getting the whole team involved in continuously doing user research and building those personas. In this presentation, he runs through some of the techniques he’s used to quickly build working personas, as well as the good, bad and ugly things he and his teams have learned along the way.
If you’ve heard about Lean UX and are keen to try it out, then lean personas are a great practical place to start understanding your customers better, and building better products.