F13-401: Customer Persona: Contextualizing Your Testing with People Models

Track: Test Strategy, Process and Design

In his book “The Practice of Management”, Peter Drucker stated, “There is only one valid definition of a business purpose: to create a customer.” This is as true for your business as it is for any other, but who are YOUR customers? Do you know? Often when we design our products and our testing plans we have a vague concept of a “user” usually limited to “web user” or “user administrator.” The canonical form of the user story was an attempt to correct this problem by discussing actual user value but for most of us this has been a promise not kept. Real people with real problems use our products, not “web users.” Extreme Programming addresses this gap by requiring an actual person who will use our products be present as part of the team, but what if you can”t do that either? What if there was a way to model a real(ish) person? This interactive session will get you using one technique for doing just that.

Session Takeaways:

  • Customer modelling using persona.
  • Pragmatic techniques for creating persona.
  • Using persona to contextualize test planning.
  • Practical experience creating a “real” persona.

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Session Speaker:

Curtis StuehrenbergCurtis Stuehrenberg – Trail Boss, Cowboy Testing
Curtis Stuehrenberg is a classically trained baritone and unsuccessful stage actor who stumbled into software testing when a friend pulled him, kicking and screaming, onto a project at Microsoft that would one day become Secure Business Server. The team wisely shunted him into the build and test lab where they assumed he would do the least harm. They were fortunately mistaken. Soon he was stalking the halls, causing fear and anger in developers and architects alike for having the effrontery to break “his” builds. Thirteen years later, he has mellowed somewhat and enjoys a challenging, rewarding, and at times successful career helping companies and teams walk the fine wire between craftsmanship and value. In what passes for his free time, he writes a little, leads the odd discussion, and argues passionately about things others often find vaguely interesting.