Persona-ble product management

There's an interesting discussion about personas at the On Product Management and Cranky Product Manager blogs. While I agree, personas should zoom into the important details, and ignore the fluff, I wonder how many development teams actually use personas at all when making design decisions.

That's not a knock on personas as a requirements tool. Quite the opposite: Know thy end user better than thyself should be the motto of product management. However, I'm not convinced that a lot of development teams have seen the value in this tool.

It's a hard cultural or mental change for some development teams to make, something I've witnessed first-hand. How many development teams have crossed this particular chasm? And are there tips of the trade about making this transition to be learned? I have no idea. (Potential research topic?)

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