IT Personas are a very useful way of describing the IT provision for common groups across an enterprise.
One of the common questions asked is how many personas should I have ? Too few and they become far too generic, too many and it becomes cumbersome and time consuming to explain the differences between some of them.
Back to basics
In my blog post “Moving beyond personas in a digital workplace” I talked about a level of granularity beyond personas – roles – in the instantiation of IT personas in an enterprise it is at this level where most of the value and differences between teams and departments in an enterprise will occur. Personas should be considered as a means of setting enterprise wide IT policies – based on the IT personas described.
Most enterprises will have major groups of users that will, because of their dominance in enterprise, warrant a persona for that group, so what I am describing below is where you would start.
Persona 1 – Task worker
This base IT persona is for staff in the enterprise whose function is to perform a particular task with very little variation. The business process is well defined, as are the applications that support those processes. Typical functions that fall into this persona are;-
- Call centre staff (inbound &/or outbound),
- Retail banking staff,
- Nurses, and
- Clerical staff.
Persona 2 – Office Worker
This base IT persona is, in the main for “back office” functions of the enterprise where there is a wide variations in the function they perform. Whereas some of their function may be part of a business process it is not exclusive to that function. Typical functions of “Office Worker” are;-
- Human Resources,
- Accounting / Finance,
- IT Staff, and
Persona 3 – Mobile Worker
This base IT persona is characterised by a high mobility requirement – because they spend significant amount of time traveling for customer &/or supplier interaction. They will typically need applications on a mobile platform with the connectivity associated. Typical functions are;-
- Mobile lenders,
- Sellers, and
- Social Workers (for home visits).
Persona 4 (optional) – Executives
This is optional because an Executive is essentially the same as an Office Worker. I have seen this called out separately, in the main, because of the type of information Executives have is more sensitive and needs a greater degree of security and they may be entitled to a greater amount of IT support than other IT personas do.
On to the next step
The above 3 or 4 base IT personas is where you start the mapping of your enterprise out to the IT personas that best fits your enterprise. As I noted earlier significant numbers of people in particular functions will demand that these have their own IT personas.
The art is getting a balance, and I have found once you get beyond about 10 then it becomes unwieldy to manage and use as a means of describing policies at the enterprise level.
Thanks for reading.