How to use these guides
There are 4 guides, each with 1-3 steps. Together they form a full guide to creating personas and user need statements.
Guide 1 covers planning. Guides 2-4 cover delivery and can be worked through in a week. They work best that way.
Each guide can also be used independently of the others if required.
Familiarise yourself with each guide’s steps in advance. It’s OK if you don’t fully understand them. Real understanding only comes from doing the work.

πŸ•˜ Start Monday, finish Friday πŸ• 

It’s possible to run your first user interview on a Monday and produce personas and user need statements on a Friday. You might spend around 25 hours of the week on this work. Your colleagues might spend around 10 hours helping you.
Aim to build momentum once you start interviewing your users (Guide 2). You will find it easier and produce better outputs if you build up speed. Taking too long between guides and their steps will make you lose focus and limit the insights that emerge from the process.

πŸ” Repeat for each user group

You will need to repeat the steps in guides 2-4 for each user group you decide to create personas and user need statements for. For example you may wish to create for both service users and their carers/family. You decide who. Once you’ve started, focus on one user group at a time

About each guide

🀷 Guide 1: How to plan your project

Effort needed: 3-7 hours, depending on your experience and how much thinking you have already done.
  • Start planning at least two weeks in advance of when you want to run your first interview. Take your time.
  • Start recruiting users for interviews as soon as you know which user group you want to interview first.

πŸ‘‚ Guide 2: How to run user interviews

Effort needed: 12-16 hours + up to 5 hours of colleague collaboration time
  • Carry these out over 2-3 days if you can e.g. Monday to Wednesday

πŸ” Guide 3: How to find themes and insights from user interviews

Effort needed: 3 hours + 2 x 3 hours of colleague collaboration time
  • Synthesise your interview notes to find themes and insights the day after your final interview e.g. Thursday

πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘§β€πŸ‘§ Guide 4: How to create personas and user need statements

Effort needed: 4-8 hours
  • Create personas and user need statements the day after synthesis e.g. Friday

About links

Each guide contains highlighted links to internal (πŸ‘¬) and external (πŸ”—πŸ”—) resources. These will help you complete the activities in this guide.
πŸ‘¬ All internal Catalyst resources, templates and content are free to copy and reuse.
πŸ”—πŸ”— External content and resources may be copyrighted.
Non-highlighted links also appear in the text. These may be useful to you.

This guide isn’t the only way to rock ’n’ roll

There are a wide variety of practices, methods and tools being used to create goal-based personas, user need statements’ and other design tools. We believe that:
  • Any process that gets you inquiring into your users’ needs and behaviours in a rigorous way is good.
  • Any process that encourages collaboration with colleagues or others is good.
  • The process described here is a good way to do this if it’s your first or second time, but it's not the only way.
Some external links include other methods you may explore.

Why your personas and user need statements don’t need to be perfect

Personas and user need statements are a snapshot of your users and their needs now. They will change over time. So treat them as a means to an end. Avoid perfection. Instead aim for good enough.
They fit well with agile working practices. You can iterate or develop more user need statements as you learn more later. Or you might add a persona for a new user type that emerges.
But it is good practice to present your user need statements well. They will be influencing your work, provoking empathy and communicating insights to others. So it's important that they are accessible and memorable. Use the template to create well presented user need statements.