What is a User Persona?

User personas are fictional characters developed to help empathize, easily understand, and connect with users. They are often segmented in some way, by role for example, to illustrate different types/categories of users.

At the bottom of this article are links to the actual personas used by two organizations. These give you an idea of what personas look like in practice.

If you need a guide to learn — check out Creating Personas: A Guide. It one of the best articles I have read on developing personas.

How do User Personas help data pipelines?

One of my favorite authors, SeattleDataGuy, writes about a common mistake new data engineers make:

“…without a clear vision of how it should come together and what the overall purpose is, new data engineers can lose sight of the intended purpose of what they’re trying to build. Knowing the intended business impact of each project makes it easier to prioritize how to scrape and structure the data.”

Personas will help you better understand and empathize with your users.

Common Personas for Analytics

  • Analysts/SMEs
  • Business Stakeholder
  • Data Engineer
  • Data Owner/Steward
  • Data Scientist
  • DevOps Engineer/Infrastructure
  • Executives/Leadership
  • Report Developer/Writer
  • Software Developer

What should be in a Data Persona?

  • Who are they: Who is this person using the data and what is their role
  • Type of user: How are they using the product and their relevant skill level
  • State the why: Why are they using the data and what do they need from it
  • Users access patterns: How are they accessing, manipulating, and using the data — and what data are they using (template)
  • State the need: What is the functionality a persona needs for the above -Refresh: When by and how often does the persona need data refreshed?

Examples to leverage

*Originally published to My Medium blog