Personas of interest

Christopher Cummings brings up an always-interesting topic: why people don't use personas as much, or as well, as they might. While persona certainly has a specific meaning in Agile, the same kind of deliverable—a profile of an archetypal user or stakeholder—exists in marketing and sales, too. It may go by different names, and people may develop and use these personas with more or less rigor.

Cummings cites three main pitfalls with personas:

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The PM job calculator: genesis

The Product Management/Marketing Job And Department Profiler is finally, finally available (Forrester account required). This project was unusual in  a lot of respects, so it's worth spending a little time explaining it. You might also get some insight into how research gets done at Forrester, which might be a little mysterious to the outside world.

What is it?
Here's the short version: You enter the priorities for a particular PM, and you get a recommended job description. If you want to go one step further, you can also get a picture of what your department should look like: how many PMs, in which specializations, at which level of seniority for their positions.

In other words, it's a tool designed primarily for the people who run PM groups. The Profiler is also useful for rank-and-file PMs who might want to gauge where their priorities and skills are, and where they should be.

I'll get into more details about the tool and how it works in a later post, but let me first explain why I created it.

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Are PMs ready to focus on research?

Several forces are pushing PMs in the same direction: both product managers and product marketers are under increasing pressure to be good researchers. Here are a quick summary of but a few of those industry changes, and how they put greater stress on the research part of the job:

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