You may have already met some of the Action Engineering personas in ads, in OSCAR the (Model-Based Enterprise) MBE learning tool, or on our website. If you haven’t we are going to take a minute and talk briefly about personas and why we use them with our 3D Data transformation teams and stakeholders.
We first need to remember that empathy is difficult, yet pertinent in understanding others and working efficiently. Personas were created to assist in the creation of empathy. They have been used in user experience design for decades. At Action Engineering, we use them in designing digital 3D Data because our team knows we should never assume that the engineers who design the data are the only data users. And typically we can’t talk to every user, follow every user, or get feedback from every user who works with our data.
We use personas to:
- Make sure that empathy is maintained and that the user is the center of the data design.
- Categorize users into broad groups based on their use of the data and the problems they’re facing in their work.
- Make sure we aren’t calling a real team member out – i.e. “We have to change this because Jerry in paint doesn’t understand it!” is not useful for anyone, least of all poor Jerry who probably has some valid reasons for being confused.
There are some core principles to our personas:
- We operate with respect. If something in our process or data is confusing to a persona, it’s because clarification is needed, not because the person is less intelligent or capable.
- We honor different perspectives. Not everyone is attracted by the same tactics and ideas. What one persona finds exciting, another might persona find threatening or intimidating; both perspectives are valid.
- We have fun. Our personas have favorite bands. They have pets. They have coffee orders. Making them whole people allows the teams we work with to get creative and empathetic while ensuring that the persona isn’t a direct facsimile of anyone they know or work with.
Here are a few examples of personas:
Tyler – Tyler is a product design engineer. He’s often a champion of the digital transition because he loves working at the cutting edge of technology. But he’s a little earlier in his career and may not have the clout to bring about the change on his own. Tyler also mountain bikes and prefers energy drinks like Monster to coffee. He thinks a polo with a collar is formal attire.
Penny – Penny is a process improvement champion. She’s been advocating for LEAN and inserting her Six-Sigma Blackbelt self wherever she can, and now she’s really intrigued by what the digital transformation could do for the metrics she cares about. Penny drinks espresso, double shots on ice, and salsa dances on the weekends.
Carl – Carl is a Vice President of Engineering. He’s been with the company for many years and keeps a drafting board in his office to remind everyone of the old days. Tyler and Penny have almost convinced him that the transition to 3D Data will be worth it, but he still worries it will mess with his numbers. Carl drives an extended-cab pickup truck with all the amenities and drinks his coffee black.
Our Persona Universe expands to 50 different unique characters, from product designer Tyler to government contracts manager Gloria, and maintenance crew member Ethan.
In our ‘Build Your Foundations’ Strategic Program phase, we help you determine which personas make sense for your 3D Data rollout and let your core team personalize them for your organization. Each persona has a set of attributes that include how they use 3D Data, how they handle change, their core values, the metrics they’re judged on, the best way they learn, and more. Each persona also has its own set of images/facial expressions so we can create collateral and internal social media about your digital transition that gets people excited.