Analysis Disruption: Creating measurable impact through personas

by Nortal HQ, November 3, 2017

Creating personas that not only represent but truly personify your target group is one of the key elements to start with when creating a new solution or service, says Hannes Seeberg, Service Strategist at Nortal, who will deliver a seminar on the topic at Nortal’s Analysis Disruption Conference.

Ahead of the Analysis Disruption Conference on November 8, we sat down with Seeberg to discuss what BAs need to know about creating personas and how it can help to deliver the desired impact.

Hannes, maybe let’s start with the basics – what or who are the personas that your seminar session will focus on?

By definition a persona is a character normally used in user-centered design and marketing projects to represent a certain target group, a certain type of user whose behavior we try to predict. It is an Avatar of a target group in a way.

But unlike general belief, I would argue that personas are not only useful in UX or marketing centered projects, but in many more ways and in a lot of cases they do not receive the attention they deserve. This is also my mission with the seminar session – to expand the horizons, show the potential of personas and how to turn that customer insight into a solution that works.

In your seminar session intro you present the question “who are Personas created for and why”, so allow me to get a sneak peek into your reply?

I would say most often what is overlooked is the fact that a persona is not just something designers and marketers use only for describing the target group. It is a tool for absolutely everybody on the project team, and should be created in such a way that the persona can be used and read the same in-house as by the customer. The persona is an internal and external communication tool.

When starting a project, you need to think about the impact you want to deliver, and so you need to know who and what you want to have an impact on, what works on them and what matters to them.

You have also mentioned that it is not so obvious or as easy as it seems to create a persona and make it work in a project. What are the details, and where can people slip up?

Well, there are several things to keep in mind. For instance:
• Avoid templates as these do not consider the context and the task you have. For initial learning, however, templates are fine.
• Think about who will use the persona and could benefit from it in their work and tasks. Both within the team and outside (customer). You all need to read it and understand it the same way.
• When creating a persona, first think about ‘why’ and is that persona even reachable. Maybe we should re-think the task and the solution we are building.
• Always think proactively. Meaning do not focus too much on the past – what the persona feels, what he/she sees when using existing solutions, but what should the persona feel or see in the future when using your solution.
• To gather insight, put yourself into the persona’s shoes. You will not resolve it behind your desk. You need to go out to where the service or product is consumed, go into the context and become the user.
• Never forget to validate.
There are many more pieces of advice and tips that I will tell everyone about at the Analysis Disruption conference.

On November 8, the business analysis conference Analysis Disruption will bring together 200 participants who want to gain a clear understanding of how to generate business value. The presentations and discussions will offer insights on how to engage end users and stakeholders, how to utilize data to the fullest and how to push for change.

We encourage you to join us at the Analysis Disruption conference. Please register here.

You can also read about how and why Nortal started organizing events for analysts here.

Hannes Seeberg

Hannes Seeberg, Service Strategist at Nortal, has guided several organizations – small and large – over the past 15 years in improving their value propositions, profitability and processes by focusing on Future Thinking and Customer and Employee Experience. Recently, he joined Nortal as Service Strategist to boost Nortal’s ability to create solutions that deliver meaningful impact for organizations and their customers. To find out how he could help your business, get in touch with him via email.