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Using Personas to Reduce Risk w/ Scott Sehlhorst

By Dave Prior, Agile Consultant & Certified Scrum Trainer

Scott Sehlhorst, SVP and Executive Consultant at Leading Agile, goes deep on Personas in this episode of SoundNotes. During the interview Scott and Dave discuss the difference between Proto-Personas and actual Personas, the importance of empathy maps and how to help management understand that making the investment in developing personas is a great way to reduce risk.This is the first of several podcasts we are going to be posting on Personas, how to create them and why they are so valuable. Show Notes 00:08 Podcast begins 00:56 Scott’s background 03:00 Why Scott is so focused on understanding the customer 07:10 Scott explains what a proto-persona is 10:51 Why we need to understand the customer’s problem at a deeper level than they do 13:00 The difference between a proto-persona and an actual persona 19:08 Making the case for taking the time to do personas 20:20 Why we start by making assumptions 24:35 Using empathy maps as a tool to help us test our assumptions 26:48 Personas are an investment in understanding the customer and reducing risk 28:52 Helping executives understand why they need to make this investment 30:34 “You put together a plan and you remove risk and uncertainty from that plan” 31:54 Can you stop at the empathy map and how do you move past it into something more data driven 36:00 Getting the data we need to get to actual personas 39:25 Accepting the risk of not moving all the way to actual personas 43:54 What are the most effective ways to collect the data we need 49:39 Once you have all the data, then what? 52:36 What we’ll focus on in future podcasts about personas 53:25 Contacting ScottLinks from the InterviewScott’s article (which includes some examples)Progressively Elaborated Users Dave Gray’s updated Empathy Map ScottTwitter: site:

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