A persona represents a cluster of users who exhibit similar behavioral patterns in their purchasing decisions, use of technology or products, customer service preferences, lifestyle choices, and the like. Behaviors, attitudes, and motivations are common to a “type” regardless of age, gender, education, and other typical demographics. In fact, personas vastly span demographics.

A persona is an imaginary representation of a user role. Creating a persona requires more than just adding a name to a user role. Personas should be described as if they were real, specific persons, with personality, detailed history, and complete background. The description includes fictitious details such as demographic details and personality characteristics, or even a picture.

A user story becomes much more expressive when put in terms of a user role or persona. After we have identified personas and user roles our goal should be to banish the words “the user” from the team’s vocabulary. Rather than writing stories like “Users can save itineraries and use them to book subsequent trips” we should write “A Repeat Traveler can save an itinerary and use it to book a subse­quent trip.” Or even better, “Kristian can save an itinerary and use it to book a subsequent trip.”

Summing-up: defining personas help us to identify and define requirements for the applications we are developing.

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