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How to Create Lean Personas

Elad Simon CEO, Craft

The use of “personas” is extremely helpful in designing effective product management workflows. They allow brands to visualize their products from the customer’s point of view. Yet, agile timelines are not always afforded the lengthy periods needed to invest in complex personas. Lean personas for UX can still provide the value and insights your product management team needs, presenting only as much information as your PM team needs to mull and complete the project. Usually built more from qualitative data than from quantitative, the lean UX process is faster and friendlier on the company budget, provided, of course, that your product owners or stakeholders do not demand multiple reviews before approval.

To create a persona for lean UX, also called proto-persona, you don’t need very much. Here’s what you DO need:

A lean UX persona template

Any successful lean UX persona template should include the following fields:

  • Name of Persona — Based on their behavior. A realistic photo can also be helpful.
  • Job Title — To paint a picture of the persona’s lifestyle.
  • Persona Attributes — To learn how potential customers may be similar or different.
  • Typical Behaviors — What behaviors does this persona exhibit, that indicate an interest in the product?
  • Needs — Relying on user research and any available metrics, assess what goals, needs, fears and the like can be fulfilled by using the product.

Here are a couple great free template examples:

    1. From Idea Theorem
    2. From Fake Crow
    3. From Pichler Consulting
    4. From UXPin
    5. From UserForge

Some good quality writing materials

Some product management teams like to brainstorm on a whiteboard before committing persona details to paper. Others rather fill in the lean UX persona template in pencil, erasing and rewriting information as required.

Your product management team and other relevant stakeholders

You need to discuss the client’s target customers – who the product is being marketed to, what their interests and behaviors are, etc. Some team members may need to conduct user interviews –  the minimum for accurate results is 5 users, while 5-30 is most common. How many users you opt to interview depends on your product, timeline, data, and other mitigating factors. Other team members can spend time analyzing metrics to create a more holistic view of the ideal lean persona. As the client for any existing market research. It will save you time and resources.

Time

No, not as much time as you’d need to spend on a complex persona, but a couple of hours to fill in the lean UX persona template are required. Then, assess the persona’s behavior, demographics, pain points and needs to determine what potential solutions your product management team can provide.

Craft is a single and collaborative place for product managers to work and collaborate for a dynamic and productive workflow. With Craft, product managers can implement lean persona template information to create insightful, research-based products, target customers will love.