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Why Personas are critical to success

Updated: Nov 25, 2021

Before diving in, I'd like to introduce our definition of the term persona. As with so much of the content at quenable, this is noted as our because we recognise it as our view (not necessarily yours) so as to provide our perspective.

A Persona is a way to describe an individual within a team or an organisation. As opposed to a Role in an organisation that provides a highly structured definition of the tasks and responsibilities that anyone holding that role must adhere to, a Persona rather captures a set of personal attributes, attitudes and focal points that an individual exudes.

By asking someone to take on a Role we are asking them to act or take on a specific set of tasks required to get a job done, but by asking someone to take on a Persona, we are more interested in them applying a mindset or approach.

Unlike in a Role where skills may need to be taught, and success measured by whether they can action their assigned tasks, an individuals success within a Persona will come when they can provide empathetic viewpoints. The rotation of individuals through differing personas is a personal growth strategy that I'd recommend to all organisations.

Great in theory, but what does this mean in terms of quenable?

Let's think about a project to deliver a technical solution to the business. For the tech person charged with implementing the solution, can you expect them to think in an unbiased manner as to whether the solution is easy to use (particularly if they "wrote" it? For the Project Manager leading the engagement, isn't it a given that they're more interested in dropping quality on a deliverable to meet budget ? For the Business Analyst wanting to see the solution meet their needs, do you really think they care about the cost of extending the project a few weeks ?

What we have here is conflicting perspectives from all parties. But where this may causing anxiety for some reading this, harnessed correctly this diverse set of views, perspectives or looping back to where we're headed Personas can be the key to success.

Success, however relies on establishing a model that:

  • Accepts that different viewpoints are normal

  • That multiple view points are critical to understanding a full set of concerns and potential risks

  • Flattens to accept that there is no one right view point

  • That all perspectives must be respectfully considered and not seen as disqualifying another, rather being just that, a perspective

quenable introduces a team model that mandates a minimum set of these Persona's be in place to provide a full consideration of all aspects of project success and that all Persona's engage fully and represent in full their perspective at all times. More than a "nice to have" we will not allow a quenable initiative to proceed through the Commitment phase without full commitment as to a minimum set of people representing these critical mindsets.

As shown in the graphic below, quenable has a number of defined Persona's that provide what we to be the minimum set of perspectives ensure the successful transition of your initiative into operational reality.

In assuring your success (as well as ours) quenable has defined a set of non-negotiable tenets to success, items that we know make or break success, and you guessed it formation of the team with the right Persona's in place is one of the #quenablenonnegotiables. If we're willing to walk away from business, we must have a good reason right ?

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