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Building personas

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In this presentation we explore what personas are, why we build them, and the importance of identifying the right personas to build. We then take you through a real life example of how we used primary market research techniques to build a persona for an enterprise software product.

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Building personas

  1. 1. Building Personas Elaine Chen January 2015 © 2015 ConceptSpring
  2. 2. Before we begin
  3. 3. 2 classes of research • Problem Research – To understand who the buyers and users are – To understand the problem statement – To understand the context in which the product will be used – To understand use cases • Solution Research – To understand the usability and utility of the product – To help prioritize the feature set – To understand pricing elasticity – To understand customer satisfaction
  4. 4. Common Methodologies • Contextural interview • Observation / shadowing • Immersion • Longitudinal diary study • Photo essay • Usability benchmark • Focus groups • … etc • Qualitative (<30 samples) • Quantitative (>1000 samples) • Surveys – General interest – Conjoint analysis – Pricing studies • Monadic • Multiple monadic • Van Westendorp • … etc – Customer satisfaction: NPS, P/M fit • Web testing – A/B split, Multivariate – Web analytics – … etcPersonas
  5. 5. What is a persona?
  6. 6. Image credit: http://www.slideshare.net/LeanStartupConf/jon-irwin-rocktheinterview-slides
  7. 7. Why make personas?
  8. 8. 12
  9. 9. A persona helps align your team “Personas are the personification of what you learn by truly and deeply listening to your market.” – Jennifer Doctor, Managing Partner, Harborlight Partners; Author, “Flat Stanley Doesn’t Live Here”
  10. 10. Sausage making Step 1: Enumerate personas
  11. 11. Who is in your Decision Making Unit (DMU)? • Economic Buyer • Champion • Influencers • Veto powers • Users
  12. 12. Who is in your Decision Making Unit (DMU)? • Economic Buyer • Champion • Influencers • Veto powers • Users
  13. 13. Who is in your Decision Making Unit (DMU)? • Economic Buyer • Champion • Influencers • Veto powers • Users
  14. 14. Sausage making 2: Making each persona
  15. 15. Get out of the building
  16. 16. Example: Enterprise Source Code Management • Company X: – Startup providing enterprise grade source code management and collaboration tools • Product: – Secure, open, productive, integrated source code management system that supports Git, Mercurial, SVN and integrates with standard tools • Target market: – Enterprise software companies at scale (1000+ employees, $500M+ annual revenue)
  17. 17. Product positioningEaseofmigration LowHigh Low High Enterprise readiness: Comprehensive SCM management tools + ALM coverage Awesome product from Company X
  18. 18. Decision making unit hypothesis The Economic buyer: Jim, 48, the software exec The Champion / Key Influencer: Bob, 34, the DevOps guru The Influencer / User 1: Dan, 23, the cool kid The Influencer / User 2: Vince, 52, the veteran Jim manages about 300 people. At his level he isn’t close to the technical details anymore. He controls the budget and relies on Bob to recommend the right tools for the team to use. Bob is head of a small DevOps team with 6 engineers servicing 300 SCM users. He does the due diligence and recommends solutions to Jim for approval. Dan is a 23 year old computer science major who just graduated from a top school. He is an open source nut and strongly believes all dev tools should be free and open source. Vince has 30+ years of experience working for companies from startup to IBM in scale. He believes there’s no free lunch – you must pay for the best tools (i.e. the one he used before
  19. 19. First focus: Jim, the economic buyer The Economic buyer: Jim, 48, the software exec The Champion / Key Influencer: Bob, 34, the DevOps guru The Influencer / User 1: Dan, 23, the cool kid The Influencer / User 2: Vince, 52, the veteran Jim manages about 300 people. At his level he isn’t close to the technical details anymore. He controls the budget and relies on Bob to recommend the right tools for the team to use. Bob is head of a small DevOps team with 6 engineers servicing 300 SCM users. He does the due diligence and recommends solutions to Jim for approval. Dan is a 23 year old computer science major who just graduated from a top school. He is an open source nut and strongly believes all dev tools should be free and open source. Vince has 30+ years of experience working for companies from startup to IBM in scale. He believes there’s no free lunch – you must pay for the best tools (i.e. the one he used before
  20. 20. Step 1: Develop the research protocol • Goals / objectives • Methodology • Recruitment questionnaire • Recruitment strategy • Paperwork / incentives (NDA? Photo/Video release form? Check?) • Equipment required (AV, laptop, etc) • Researchers name list and roles • Discussion guide
  21. 21. Step 2: Develop a hypothetical persona 2013 Revenue: $4.2B Headcount: 362,000 BU Headcount: 700 Jim’s team 300 Behaviors • Reports to the BU General Manager • Manages the software organization (all aspects) and the associated budget • Technically the best guy on staff • Makes all key decisions on tools and systems for developers in his business unit Demographics • 48 years old • Ph.D. in Computer Science from MIT • Has been managing teams for 15 years. Hands on. Still writes code every day. • Married with high school children • Drives a Toyota Prius • Carries a Samsung Note Needs and goals • He wants his team to turn out the very best code and is willing to pay a premium price for the best tools to support himself and his people
  22. 22. Step 3. Develop Recruitment Guidelines • Company characteristics: – Fortune 500 or similar scale companies with 450+ employees – At least 100 employees in engineering organizations – Prefer US or Europe based companies (ok to have satellite offices elsewhere as long as HQ is in the US or Europe) • Subject characteristics: – Must have: Full time employee working as a software developer, software development manager, or a devOps / tools and release engineer or engineering manager within a software organization – Nice to have: Prefer managers who are well versed in the politics and process of decision making within the large organization
  23. 23. Step 4: Develop a discussion guide
  24. 24. Step 5: Recruit subjects • Free – Your personal network – MIT alumni network – Your prospects – Your current customers – … etc • Paid – Research agencies e.g. Fieldwork Boston – Lists e.g. momcentral – … etc
  25. 25. Step 6. Run the actual interviews
  26. 26. Interview do’s and don’ts Do use these phrases: • Tell me the story of… • Tell me about the last time… • Why? • Why not? • Say more about… • Tell me more… Do talk much, much less than your interviewee Don’t ever do this: • Ask yes/no or multiple choice q’s (e.g. “on a scale of 1-5”…) • Read the DG to the interviewee The DG helps organize your thoughts. Internalize it, then go in with open ended q’s.
  27. 27. Step 7: Crunch the data
  28. 28. If things go well, convergence is rapid In 5 interviews: subjects started self- organizing In 10 interviews: Top persona hypotheses emerge In 20 interviews: personas fully validated
  29. 29. Step 8: Find patterns, build personas 2013 Revenue: $514M Headcount: 1000-2000 BU Headcount: N/A – 1 BU Jim’s team 200 Behaviors • Reports to the BU General Manager • Manages the software organization (all aspects) and the associated budget • Primarily concerned with strategy, leadership, management – high level • Relies on direct reports (dev, devOps, SQA managers) to recommend the right technical decisions Demographics • 48 years old • Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering degree from UNY Stony Brooks • Has been managing teams for 25 years; last wrote production code 10 years ago • Married with high school children • Drives a Mercedes SUV • Mac, iPhone 5, iPad Mini, W8 for work Needs and goals • Above all: his goal is to meet or exceed revenue goals for his business unit by releasing software on time and as planned with marketing and sales • He wants to keep the staff happy and to attract hot new talent to join his team • He needs to conserve budget – fixed $/y to spend on tools, R&D – zero sums game
  30. 30. Be open minded! (Orange = new news) 2013 Revenue: $514M Headcount: 1000-2000 BU Headcount: N/A – 1 BU Jim’s team 200 Behaviors • Reports to the BU General Manager • Manages the software organization (all aspects) and the associated budget • Primarily concerned with strategy, leadership, management – high level • Relies on direct reports (dev, devOps, SQA managers) to recommend the right technical decisions Demographics • 48 years old • Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering degree from UNY Stony Brooks • Has been managing teams for 25 years; last wrote production code 10 years ago • Married with high school children • Drives a Mercedes SUV • Mac, iPhone 5, iPad Mini, W8 for work Needs and goals • Above all: his goal is to meet or exceed revenue goals for his business unit by releasing software on time and as planned with marketing and sales • He wants to keep the staff happy and to attract hot new talent to join his team • He needs to conserve budget – fixed $/y to spend on tools, R&D – zero sums game
  31. 31. Hypotheses that were invalidated • Internal team structure – who’s who • Who decides what • Who does the core homework • Whether it is possible to do 1 sale to a 100,000 people company • Core pain points • Calls to action / timing for action • Awareness of / readiness to adopt industry best practices • Magnitude of internal friction • … etc
  32. 32. Taking Action
  33. 33. Refine Positioning Statement • For [target customer] • Who wants/needs [a compelling reason to buy] • The [product name] is a [product category] • That provides [these key benefits]. • Unlike [the main competitor], • The [product name] [provides these key differentiation points].
  34. 34. Drive Product Strategy • Redefine Unique Value Proposition (UVP) to meet needs/wants of economic buyer. • For Company X: – Before: UVP is product centric and misses the biggest pain: migration friction. • “Manage your source code in the most secure and productive way in Git or Mercurial” – After: 2 UVPs tailored to needs of identified economic buyer and their team • “Painless Migration to Git” • “Multiple System Support” • Redefine product roadmap / priorities
  35. 35. Building Personas - reprise • B2C is simple: user = buyer (except in gifting scenarios) • Many more personas for B2B. Make sure you cover them all. • Use qualitative techniques • Recruit carefully • Ask open ended questions • Be a good listener • Not a sales call – talk about them, not you • 20 interviews to a good persona • B2B is complicated – do what you can with what access you have
  36. 36. Get out of the building!
  37. 37. Thank you @chenelaine blog.conceptspring.com

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