Posted in Product


What is a Persona?

Mike Cohn Definition (3, page 38)

User roles = collection of defining attributes that characterise a population of users and their intended interactions

Persona = imaginary representation of a user role. Describe sufficiently so the team feel like they know the person (e.g. job, family, likes, comfort with technology). Include a description and a picture.

Extreme characters = over-the-top characters like a drug dealer or the pope

Good Persona Guidance

What Info should a good persona provide (1, pg 31)

  • Name
  • Representative photograph
  • Quote that conveys what they most care about
  • Job title
  • Demographics
  • Needs/goals
  • Relevant motivations and attitudes
  • Related tasks and behaviours
  • Frustrations/ pain points with current solution
  • Level of expertise/ knowledge (in the relevant domain, e.g. level computer savvy)
  • Product usage context/ environment (e.g. laptop in a loud, bust office or tablet on the couch at home)
  • Technology adoption life cycle segment (for your product category) – according to Geoffrey Moore’s Crossing the Chasm

Creating Personas

Proto-personas (2)

  • Keeping personas as a living document, rather than a one time activity
  • Create proto-personas at the start and then validate that the persona is correct, rather than upfront research by a third party. Team are disconnected from the personas
  • Then validate 3 things
    • Does the customer exist?
    • Do they have the needs and obstacles you think they do?
    • Would they value a solution to this problem?

See Persona Creating Workshop


  1. Lean Product Playbook by Dan Olsen
  2. Lean UX by Jeff Gothelf
  3. User Stories Applied by Mike Cohn

Explore more

User Testing

User Interview

User Stories

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