Friday, June 30, 2006

The Return on Investment (ROI) for Personas

Using personas...

"The complete persona lifecycle positions your persona team as the “first in/last-out” members of the product development team. You will be first in as you collect and express data about target user populations to your executive team to support their strategic work. You will be last out as you help manage the transition from the end of one project to the beginning of the next. In this sense, this last phase of the persona lifecycle is both critical and, at present, too often ignored.

For a variety of reasons, persona efforts tend to peter out rather than end in a managed, measured, and organized manner. Consultants are usually not paid to stick around long enough to manage the personas at the end of a project and in-house teams are usually more concerned with ramping up for the next project than they are with tidying up loose ends from the previous one. Being first-in/last-out on projects means that you will probably end up with responsibilities that straddle two projects. You will be completing your work on project A even after you have begun your work on project B. That is no simple task. It is certainly easier to simply move on to project B. However, we argue that an organized approach to measuring and managing the end of a project can yield significant benefits.

The final persona lifecycle phase is about measurement, regaining control of the persona effort as a whole, and preparing for the future. As the leader of your persona core team, you have two primary tasks at the end of your persona effort:
* Measure the lifetime achievement of your personas (their value), including the return on investment (ROI) of the persona effort
* Manage the organization’s transition to a new project with regard to UCD and target audiences, which will involve reusing, retiring, or in some way reincarnating your personas."   continued ...   (Via Usability News)


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