Analytics Personas

I talk about personas a lot, and with good reason – it’s how we in all facets of SDLC get our heads around our customer, our audience.

If you want to build anything you’re gonna need a persona.

Most of the personas we create represent groups of people who actually use our product – they help us identify and communicate critical features of our product and its design. They also serve to fortify our user stores and maintain focus on the users’ priorities when talking to anyone in the organization.

Analytics personas tend to be different, in that they often represent users who may not directly use your product, for example, your persona may be managing the process your software is augmenting, or the people facilitating that process. These users rely on the data the system collects to measure, analyze, and then act.

Analytics personas begin like any other (we still want to know about what this specific grouping of users is trying to accomplish) but we also need added specifics related to process and data.

  • Who is my boss? ( and who is my bosses’ boss?)
  • How do I tend to consume/present information?
  • What processes/incentives am I responsible for?
  • What am I responsible to report & when (daily, weekly, quarterly…) and to whom?
  • What are the pitfalls I scan for that ID logjammed process?
  • What incentives am I looking to enforce/improve?
dashboard & Reporting example

Example of an analytics persona for Director/Manager Case Management

Update your persona library to include analytics personas –  it will help your product to correctly address the unique problems your users are trying to solve.

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Interesting find – Data-Aware

Here’s an interesting find:

While interviewing customers to build out analytics personas – I noticed an interesting trend among the users I was interviewing.

From the very top of the org-chart, all the way to the bottom, any one of your users can be what I call “data-aware”, meaning they are very comfortable manipulating data. They often prefer it in raw format and will bring it into the tool of their choice.

So there are 2 kinds of reporting users:

Not Data-Aware User (I’m not comfortable manipulating data)

  • I consume data in a visualized format (for the most part)

Data-Aware User (I’m comfortable manipulating data)

  • I consume data in a raw format often bringing it into my own tool
  • Often the group looks to me for reporting assistance
  • I tend to be a champion of the product!

  • The Data-Aware trait is not limited to any user type!
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I recently took the Gallup StrengthFinder assessment again, this time for naviHealth. Here are the results:


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IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS


I recently found this infographic explaining pizza as a service it’s funny and is a great analogy, but after a conversation with an old coworker, I realized that not everyone knows the original definitions of how the ecosystem of products “* as a Service” actually fit together.

Here’s a quick breakdown to help explain each as simply as possible. Keep in mind the hard part here is nearly all of them have the end game of delivering a SaaS experience to our customers.

On Premise
The hardware is usually owned by the customer, specd out by you and hosted on-site in the customer’s data center. Everything is managed either directly by you the vendor, or someone in-house. All hardware, operating systems, security, updates, networking, traffic control and updates are essentially managed by you the vendor.

Infrastructure as a Service
IaaS providers deploy and manage pre-configured and virtualized hardware and enable users to spin up virtual machines or computing power without the labor-intensive server management or hardware investments. Most IaaS packages cover, storage, networking, servers, and virtualization, Leaving the customer responsible for installing and maintaining the operating system, databases, security components, and applications.

Platform as a Service
PaaS solutions appeal to developers who want to spend more time coding, testing, and deploying their applications instead of messing with O/S oriented tasks such as managing security patches and operating system updates. PaaS products include APIs and tools that enable developers to hook in features like traffic splitting, monitoring, and version control.

Software as a Service
SaaS providers host an application and make it available to users through the internet, usually a browser-based interface. SaaS customers use the software without having to worry about development, maintenance, support, update, or backups.

Here’s the comparison graphic with all the pizza analogy taken out.


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T-Shirt Sizing: Is there nothing it can’t do?

I recently discovered Planning Poker style T-Shirt Sizing can aid the elicitation process while gathering and ranking pain-points.


T-Shirt Sizing – To the rescue!

The job: Gathering pain-points from many Lines Of Business (LOB) related to the process of policy administration for AIG. The goal, incorporate the Voice Of Customer to better understand how a single system and unified process might accommodate most or all LOB’s, and rank all entries.

While ranking the pain-points with our user groups, we noticed an undesirable trend, one person (in most cases the group’s manager, not an end-user) would step forward to rank the problem, then everyone in the group would quietly follow and agree.


  • We were dealing mostly with the manager’s agenda, vs. real pain-points
  • The group was passively following/agreeing and not participating (No voice in the process, so why should they stick their necks out)
  • The “why” was not making it to the conversation

Solution: Use Planning Poker style T-Shirt Sizing.
Rather than ask the group in the open* to rank, we set up a Poker Planning Session (Using a simple online voting tool) allowing all users to vote individually. Once all votes were in and then revealed – we asked outlier voters to discuss why they voted as they did.

Obviously, this pushed our group out of their comfort zone of sitting in the meeting and saying as little as possible, however, once the group got comfortable the ranking process improved drastically.

The dam had broken, but improved ranking was not actually the greatest benefit.

  • The discussion and insight that came from outlier votes helped to reveal a detailed picture into their process and ultimately the “why” behind the pain-point.
  • Individual users became active, and passionate once they realized they had a say in the process.

So next time you work with a group to elicit information, consider using Planning Poker style T-Shirt Sizing to get the real story and activate your end users into the process of improvement.

*Note this is the same issue I have with open focus groups, one person tends to dominate and everyone else follows.
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This is Epic:

My contract with AIG is coming to a close, and I’ll be back on the market shortly. Since I spend so much of my time writing user stories, I thought to express my availability in the same way.

As an experienced Product Manager/Owner

I seek a Product Owner opportunity in healthcare (HIT) that leverages both my experience and personal strengths.

So that I can continue my career in healthcare AND make a difference for people (patients and healthcare providers).

Acceptance Criteria:

  • Team of like-minded people looking to make a difference in healthcare
  • Environment where ideas, collaboration, and transparency enable everyone
  • Respect for the process of ideation and iteration where empathy rules (not Ego)
  • Access to users for feedback to make good products into great products
  • Culture of action and trust that allows everyone to move forward
  • Respect for the agile approach that eliminates nearly all “Fire drills”
  • Access to benefits like health care for myself and my family
  • Good PTO policy so that I can blow off steam and return with a fresh mind
  • Reasonable policy that allows work from home when needed

More about About Jeffrey Sekera

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UX Burnout?

Haven’t heard of UX burnout? Don’t worry neither had I, but looking back over the last umpteen years – I’ve sure felt it.
UX burnout is a term coined by UX Designer Benjamin Earl Evans in an article for (A publication that incidentally has remained well focused on the UX industry for a long time now,). Evans identifies six types of UX Burnout and offers some ideas to alleviate the stress.

After the launch, I was all UX’ed out. Even the sight of a Post-It note felt exhausting. Attributing the fatigue to creative block, I planned to take a few days off to recharge. But because my version of “recharge” also means “process everything,” I also decided to write an article for creatives about how to deal with this kind of block.

I think we all suffer some or all of these during a big project. My biggest takeaway to diminish burnout during my days was two things:
1. Knowing failure was OK, so long as we did a retrospective analysis and based out following approaches on what we learned did actually work.
2. Mountain biking.

Read the article here at

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