Personas don't review specs... People do

I've spent a lot of time bloviating on the Mort vs. Elvis thing. I got confused once, and thought I was an Elvis. Not really understanding what an Elvis is, I accidentally identified with the Elvis persona and championed the Elvis cause. I feel dirty. I'm not an Elvis.

Scott Bellware [MVP] : Mort or Elvis? A Question for a Bygone Era.

I read Scott’s rant.  If I didn’t work here I’d probably be standing right behind him saying “Yeah – Microsoft is bogged down in embarrassing ideologies! You tell-em Scott!.” I’m surprised that Scoble gave it so much boost.


The problem is that I do work here and I’m happy to report that if that’s the only thing you read about how we build our developer software then you’re missing 99.9% of what goes on here.  


Yes, real research dollars was spent to develop the developer personas. Yes, a printout of the simplified personality types was put into all of our mailboxes.  Yes, if taken at face value they don’t represent the breadth of work and challenges taken on by Microsoft platform developers every day.  However…


The personas don’t determine what bugs we fix.  They don’t get to review specs before we build the product like real customers do. They don’t get to talk with thousands of us softies on a daily basis. They don’t participate in the multitude of usability studies that we conduct that DO include real developers. Persona’s don’tget to ask thousands of questions per week that get answers from hundreds of folks that build your developer products.  The personas don’t get to go to conferences or site visits where you all get to tell us directly what direction you want the product to go in.  They don’t watch our channel9 videos.  And, finally, the persona’s don’t get to blog and tell us what they really think about the products… and have us listen & respond.  


If we ever were only using personas to build products (in reality we never were) that time has clearly passed… and it has been gone for at least 3-5 years.  In the months to come you’ll get to see the first Orcas CTP. With that CTP you’ll also get to read the specs reviewed by real customers that went into the product.  By then I hope you’ll agree with me when I tell you “now you’ve heard the rest of the story”… or at least another .1% of it.