Scott Sehlhorst at Tyner Blain asks one of the ultimate questions:
How do we find out what someone wants when they don’t know what they want or what they can have?
Fortunately for us, he has an answer:
We use personas to identify different classes of users in a software system. We use those personas to drive feature prioitization and design decisions. When making design decisions, we focus on the level of competence of the users to prioritize features. When we are eliciting requirements, it is before we get to the prioritization stage, and we are still defining what the features might be.
We can use the same techniques to increase the value of our requirements elicitation efforts.
For any given role that we identify as a user of our software, we can use Geoffrey Moore’s classification to identify four distinct user archetypes (personas).
- Innovators (Influencers) - people on the bleeding edge of the technology curve.
- Early Adopters - our first customers.
- Majority - most users of our software.
- Late Adopters - people who follow the crowd.
There are pros and cons to interviewing representatives from each group. With Ken’s guidance, we can separate the wheat from the chaff and combine their inputs to drive innovative and valuable solutions. Our goal in these interviews is to understand the pain-points and market opportunities.
As they say, read the whole thing.