I don't agree with this point in the first paragraph: "Personas are loaded with one’s biases." - In my experience, personas are based on real research, which should be more or less immune to bias.
Also: "They start with a batch of assumptions" - Don't they start with research? In my experience, they do.. Have I been doing it wrong?
Also: "The misdirection of persona creation leads teams towards following the wrong path" - Only if the personas are held up as concrete waypoints.. I'm yet to be part of a team that uses personas for prioritisation. They should be used as guidance, but not by any means absolute.
Having said that - I can't argue that this JTBD approach isn't as good as, or possibly better than personas.. I haven't heard of it before now, so I'll give it a go.
Thanks for writing it up
He doesn't mean about the UX of User Personas. He means the personas on user stories. Even if we talk on the first definition I gave, it's flawed as well and subject to bias because you track what you want, not what the user really wants. He also gave a perfect example of the problem and how different and full of sense is the solution. I guess, even if you disagree, the point looks pretty solid.
From the article example;
Typical user story: As Matt, I want to be able to checkout quickly
Job story: When I’m at the store with two kids, I want to checkout quickly, so I don’t have to chase them around
This isn't an issue with the existence of a persona, this is an issue with brevity.. The story is perfectly understandable with the persona.
When Matt is at the store with two kids, He wants to checkout quickly, so he doesn't have to chase them around.
Absolute non-issue, over politically correct nonsense.
"it's flawed as well and subject to bias because you track what you want"
This isn't how research works.. You don't track 'what you want' - you track what information you have taken based on your assumptions, and then you validate those assumptions, then iterate.
I explained my point badly. There are two kinds of user research, so far I know:
- User personas: several sheets with people's profile.
- User stories: hypothetical personas that want to do X.
The author makes reference to the second, the one that normally hasn't a clear User Persona information background that supports the story. "A customer does this".
The bias part of the first one, is clear: you can interview people, ask things you want and have an schema of personality you really want to. That's biased. It may lead to the wrong answers if not done properly.
The bias on the second is even more evident: if you don't provide clear background, then you can bias the entire story.
"you can interview people, ask things you want and have an schema of personality you really want to." - I'm afraid this is not really how personas are developed. Which explains why you are getting a feeling of bias.
"if you don't provide clear background, then you can bias the entire story." - This has nothing to do with whether the User Story is written from the perspective a persona or not, it's purely about the capability of the person writing the stories to elaborate effectively.
Yup. This is like writing "HAMMERS SUCK" when you're holding a hammer made of lead. Duh. Maybe use one made of steel.
If your personas suck, yes, they'll be useless. If they're good, you can use them to fix issues, as a starting point or for clarification/explanation. I've had plenty successful projects where they came in handy. (Read: I've used them twice in 12 years. But still, they helped a lot. Just use the right tool at the right time.)
I appreciate the article, but this is sort of like saying "Hammers, you don't need them, because people use hammers wrong."
Personas often start with assumptions, like many parts of the design process. Assumptions should be validated/invalidated and iterated upon.
Consider the 'muser' principle: http://psql.me/post/31421953192/whos-your-muser
I learned a lot from reading Intercom's work on JTBD: https://www.intercom.io/books/jobs-to-be-done
Absolute fluff devised by no-talent managers to make it seem like they're providing valuable input.
Interesting, I've heard a lot about the JTBD framework, I like the sound of this approach.
Personas that are based on real research can still be a good way of keeping the research findings alive when they may not have immediate uses. As you don't always go from research to writing stories.