What is a customer persona?
Customer Personas are fictional generalisations of your most valuable customers.
They help teams understand their customers by bringing together demographic information like age, gender, location, and income, alongside psychographic information like interests, frustrations and personal or professional motivations.
What are user personas?
Now It might seem trivial at first, to come together as a team, mocking up what seem like fake dating profiles for your most important customers.
However, this exercise sets the foundation for other agile practices down the track, and its benefits are often undervalued.
Agile experts have called for more cross-functional teams, which means this knowledge of who the customer is, is no longer the sole responsibility of your Sales and Marketing team. Everyone is responsible for understanding who the customer is.
Teams that have a shared understanding and alignment around who is actually using the solution they are delivering are more likely to succeed.
Building customer personas helps teams to address the following questions:
- Who are our customers?
- What are their common behavioural patterns?
- What are their shared pain points (professional and personal)?
- What are their goals and objectives?
- What general demographic and psychographic information may influence their decisions?
- What drives them to make purchasing decisions?
- Is the customer the buyer or decision maker?
There’s two steps you can take to answer these questions and start to identify who your customer personas are:
Firstly, broadly define your personas
It’s not crazy to think that most companies will have some broad idea of who at least some of their customer personas are. This knowledge is accumulated over time and is based on customer feedback, support requests, conversations/interviews and initial market research.
This knowledge is not to be underestimated and is a great starting point before looking towards analytics to flesh these personas out into more specific detail.
Secondly, look towards insights and analytics
Once you’ve come up with a few customer personas, it’s time to flesh them out with qualitative and quantitative data.
So where can we find this information?
Look at sources like:
- Website Analytics
- Facebook Insights
- Customer Surveys & Polls
- Industry reports
- Customer Interviews or
- In-Product Analytics
After looking through all of this information you can map back the data against your original assumptions.
By the end of the exercise, you and your team should have a pretty good idea of who your customers are, and how to best service them, communicate with them and build solutions for them.
Customer personas in Jira
Once these personas have been developed, the challenge is choosing where to store them.
Making the personas highly-visible should encourage your team to consider them each time new work enters the backlog. You want them to think, “What would Sam the System Administrator think about this new feature? Would she use it? How would she communicate its benefits to her team? What are some of the problems Sam may encounter on first use?”
That’s why we created an app for Jira - Easy Agile Personas.
Easy Agile Personas enables you to create and keep your user personas in Jira alongside your work, so the entire team can keep the customer in mind.
Whether you choose to use Easy Agile Personas or not, the customer personas you develop are vital to building user story maps.