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People Profile Hybrid Personas – a practice exercise

In this blog I put to use the learning from my previous blog Personas and Alternatives. Here, I again use my fictious company, Manulean, and their hypothetical People Profile application.

In this work, I was heavily influenced by Margaret Price, Radina Doneva, and especially Michell Gilmore and Jared Spool’s blogs concerning personas; however, I did not slavishly follow any of their frameworks. The below is a hybrid approach.

I began by crafting a list of beliefs and behaviors various employees might have regarding a people profile application:

  • How enthusiastic are they about the application? (relative to the initial release and then ongoing)
  • Likelihood of creating and maintaining a robust profile.
  • Likelihood of delegating their profile creation.
  • Frequency of use. (only relevant after first release)
  • Likelihood of using the application to view a specific employee’s profile (i.e. a known item search) found via typing name in search box.
  • Likelihood of using advanced search constructs, e.g. searching by using constrained metadata terms.
  • Likelihood of using the application to identify candidate employee(s) to answer specific question(s).
  • Likelihood of using the application to identify employee(s) for possible project staffing.
  • Likelihood of using the application to create a directory of community membership or event attendees.
  • The amount of travel the employee does.
  • Likelihood of accessing the application on a mobile device.
  • Likelihood of accessing the application without having an internet connection, e.g. on an airplane that does not offer Wi-Fi.
  • Extent of desire to receive application notifications regarding other employees with similar interests that user is not already showing a connection with.
  • Likelihood of viewing metrics related to application, e.g. the percentage of total population that are active users in the past month.
  • Extent of desire to know the technical details of the application.

Comment: as I brainstormed the above, I had some concern that I went too far towards a list of features and surveying the professed “must have” and “would like to have” priorities, which is not the purpose of this exercise.

Next, I used the above brainstorm to inform some light-weight personas. Two examples:

Robin is a Senior Consultant hired by the acquired company, MTP, just prior to the acquisition closing in 2018. He/She is a digital native millennial who is very comfortable with social media and has the expectation that the newly merged company would have enterprise applications on par with digital brands like Slack, Instagram, and Twitter that he/she uses daily outside of work. As an upcoming talent on the fast-track, Robin understands the importance of creating and maintaining a strong network across all the offices and into the support organizations, beyond just Consulting. As a junior employee with strong technical skills, but only modest consulting and industry experience, Robin frequently has questions regarding the firm’s methodology or the more business-side of her client’s industries. Robin frequently travels to client sites; however, also has entire weeks working heads-down on solution development at the home office. Robin is a passionate advocate for the new People Profile application and has volunteered to be part of User Acceptance Testing (UAT).

Robin’s attribute profile looks like:

Pat is a Principal from the original Manulean. He/she is a seasoned consultant and is, along with the co-founders, one of the firm’s primary “rainmakers” for business development. Pat is a baby boomer who has kept up to date with manufacturing technology at a high-level and frequently speaks at industry conferences. Pat is also active in the local Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) chapter and uses connections from his/her SME work to identify potential experienced hires. He/she delegates his/her social media presence and thought leadership authoring to Marketing and doesn’t use social media in his/her personal life. typically travels for one or two trips a week — to client sites, conferences, or (most recently) to scout potential locations for further geographical expansion. Pat still interviews all consulting hires and makes a point of keeping in touch with those who are hired. He/she is on-board with developing a robust People Profile application; however, he/she can’t imagine using it much himself/herself beyond as a replacement to the role, address and phone directory the firm currently has. Pat prefers building relationship in-person and expects to delegate maintaining his People Profile to his/her Admin. Pat has some concern that the new application will create more demand on the senior professionals at the firm to be available for questions and informal mentoring, given their increased visibility with the application. Pat knows that these interactions will help with retention and the firm’s growth; however, there are only so many hours in the week and client-facing work must take priority.

Pat’s attribute profile looks like:

Next-up, user stories, which will be significantly informed by the above.

Published in Business Analysis Portfolio

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