How can I use a persona to pivot?

How can I use a persona to pivot?

Using a persona to pivot your product is a classic use of the tool. A scenario:

Let’s imagine Amina is the Single Threaded Owner (STO) of a puzzle app. Amina is a big fan of personas and created a couple for it when she started. The personas were instrumental in driving product decisions, which led to it being a big success.

One of Amina’s personas was for FinTech Tim a busy commuter from Long Island, who spends 45 minutes a day each way to and from Port Washington to Penn Station. Amina thought about FinTech Tim’s context and the implications it may have for the puzzle.



·      Mobile only

·      Subway can have a poor signal

·      Journey can be boring

·      Not much privacy

·      Make a game for mobile

·      Must run well offline

·      Provides a distraction

·      Make social sharing a key feature

Using this information, it turned out that targeting the puzzle app at FinTech Tim was a huge play. It had led to the inclusion of some cool features, commuter focussed features. In particular, the idea of competing against boredom, getting commuters to form a community using Bluetooth enabled features so they could play against each other, creating a league so they could pit their competitive spirit against each other was a hit.

Downloads of the app were great, which resulted in huge revenues. Amina was delighted.

In March both Amina’s and Tim’s life turned upside down as trains ran empty and the country entered Covid lockdown. Usage tanked as the commuters were no longer in Bluetooth range.

The execs were considering furloughing the puzzle team until “things pick up”.

Remembering the success she’d previously had with personas, Amina pulled together her team to revise the FinTech Tim persona describing a new set of behaviours, challenges and problems that needed solving in this new world.

FinTech Tim now has a new set of challenges. With new company policy meaning working from home, FinTech Tim is coming to terms with a new reality, instead of competing in puzzles on his commute.



·      Working from home

·      Feeling isolated

·      Desire for normality

·      Lots of time on your hands

·      Users are out of Bluetooth range

·      Need a community

·      Provides a distraction

·      Needs to be engaging

The revised persona gives Amina new insight into the new reality. She understands the difficulties and challenges her users are facing and how this is impacting her backlog of problems she has to solve.

Analysing the new data she asks “so what?” She starts to probe the situation with critical questions. She thinks about her emotions and feelings. She thinks about the broader issues arise from the situation at hand and draws conclusions from the new data?

Turning her conclusions into concrete actions Amina calls the dev team together and announces that they’re going to stop working on all commuter related features and switch focus.


Want to keep reading?

Ready to get started?

Our team of business agility experts are here to help

Contact us

Discover new insights

I’m a product owner not a feature... By Paul Grew

Read More

Financial Times UK's Leading Management Consultants

Sign up for our newsletter

Keep up to date with all the latest business agility news