10.1: Persona-driven development in the City of London


Caplin Systems is based in the City of London and provides a framework to investment banks that enables them to quickly build, or enhance, their single-dealer offering, or to create a single-dealer platform for the first time.

The company was drawn to use personas to increase the customer focus of their products by better understanding who they were developing their system for. Personas were seen as a way to provide a unified view of their users, and to start building more customer-focused products.

The first step was to run a workshop for the whole company, to introduce personas, show how other companies were using them, and for employees to experience the benefits of using personas first hand through some simple team exercises. The proposition was then put forward: 'Should we adopt personas and persona-driven development?' The response was a resounding 'YES!' This was a good thing to do. Gaining this 'buy in' was fundamentally important to ensure everyone was behind the use of personas and committed to the change.

Everyone got excited and work began to define the way forward. Further workshops were run to refi ne the first persona, though in hindsight the Caplin team think too long was spent trying to get the first persona perfect. Now they are much more agile about persona creation.

Eighteen months after the persona breakthrough workshop, the main persona for Caplin Trader, Jack, and his 'pain points' are the focus of development, design decisions, and team discussions. Ongoing persona development is focusing on end users of the software built with Caplin's technology, and Narrative Journey Maps are used to capture their interactions and help define goals/motivations and pain points (see Figure 10.4).

This case study (on the website) focuses on the development and use of personas in Caplin Systems. Specifically, it takes a snap-shot of personas and their use, presenting the benefits of persona-driven development as perceived by a range of different roles within the company: from developers to quality assurance, user experience, and sales personnel.

Figure 10.4 The narrative journey maps - sad faces show pain points for the persona