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Appendix A – Organization Stereotypes and Reader Personas

This appendix describes two stereotypical organizations and the people involved in making or providing data for the readiness and acceptance decisions. The people are described as personas.

IT Organization of a Business

XYZ Corp is a large transportation company. Computer software has been integral to the company’s business for several decades. The company has several thousand “applications”. At the high end are systems built by the IT department ranging from large mainframe systems written in Cobol and PL-1 to Web-based applications written in ASP.NET. At the low end there are end user applications built in Visual Basic and Access and spreadsheet applications built by end users scattered throughout the business areas.
The IT department will build the software based on the specifications provided by the business and, after doing its own system testing, expects the business to conduct user acceptance testing. There is no separate QA department but each development team has at least one testing specialist who helps the team test their own software. The IT department’s quality gate process also requires signoffs from the IT Architecture group and the Operational support group before software can be deployed into the Acceptance environment. As a result of recently introduced corporate governance initiatives (such as SOX), company policy requires approval by the Corporate Security department before any new application can be deployed into production.
The IT Architecture department includes a team of data architects whose primary responsibility is to own the corporate data model. The company views the data in the applications as a corporate asset and the data architects have been working hard to manage the duplication of data across them. The IT department also manages the lifecycles of the various IT technologies used in the company. New technologies have to be approved by the IT Architecture group before they can be used and old technologies may be marked for replacement. The Corporate Security department takes an active interest in all new applications and must approve the security measures before any new application can be deployed.


A Product Company

Adventure Works is a product company that sells business productivity improvement products that include both hardware and software. Some of the products are sold as hardware with embedded software and some as software packages that leverage existing hardware products. The company has a separate UxD and QA departments. The UxD department is involved in part of the requirements definition activities associated with designing the product as well as ensuring that the products have a consistent look& fell. The QA department tests the software built by the Product Development group and advises the Product Manager on whether the software can be released to the market.


Reader Personas

Personas Often Found in the IT Organization of a Business

Product Manager or Product Owner

Eric Andersen is a product manager who has been asked to work with an agile development team as the Product Owner for one of the software-only products (a new software release that works with existing hardware supplied by the company and third parties.) Because the company’s products are considered high-technology, Eric is fairly tech-savvy. He has a good understanding of the customer’s requirements but does get a bit lost when the discussion descends to the level of networking protocols.
Key questions Eric needs to find answers to:
  1. What kinds of information do I need from the QA department to decide whether or not to accept the software? What quality criteria must be met? How do I know they have been met?Who is responsible for verifying these criteria are met? Who is responsible for ensuring these criteria are met?
  2. How does the UxD team participate in acceptance testing of the software?
  3. How can the release strategy (multiple releases, alphas, betas, etc.) help me?
  4. What is the process for addressing deficiencies prior to release?

Business Person in the Marketing Division

Lisa Andrews is a business person in the marketing division of XYZ Corp. Lisa is in her late twenties (relatively young for her position in the somewhat conservative company) so she has good computer usage skills but is not by any stretch of the imagination considered “technical”. This is Lisa’s first IT project. Lisa has been asked to be the business lead of the project to replace several existing systems used by the staff in the marketing, sales and contracts departments with a single integrated system using the latest technologies. In this role she will have the final say on whether the system is acceptable to be deployed. She will also be responsible for ensuring that the business benefits used to justify the project are actually realized. She will be assisted on this project by several users of the existing applications as well as a business analyst and a test professional. She will need to oversee this team as it defines the detailed requirements for the new system.
Key questions Lisa needs to answer:
  1. What kinds of testing will my team need to do to help me decide whether or not to accept the software?
  2. How can the release strategy (multiple releases, alphas, betas, community technology previews, etc.) help me?
  3. When should I plan on doing AT? How much time should I allow for AT? How much effort will be involved? How much of staff do I need to do it?
  4. What kinds of testing do I expect the IT department to do before asking my team to do acceptance testing?
  5. What information do I need IT to provide to me about the kinds of testing they have done and how will I use that information in deciding whether or not to accept the software (or even start acceptance testing?)
  6. What information do I need to provide to IT prior to me doing AT?

Operations Department Manager

Chatty Cathy is the manager of the operations department. She is responsible for deploying all server-based applications and keeping them running according to each application’s service level agreement (SLA). She’s been with the company 30 years having worked her way up from being an administrative assistant in one of the business units. Her formal training was secretarial school and she’s learned whatever she needed to know on the job. When she was first moved into I.T. it was as a tester for desktop applications but she quickly moved to up manage the desktop support team. When that function was outsourced, she was asked to take over the operations group. That was two years ago and she has only recently become comfortable with her understanding of how the group functions. She has yet to make any changes to the group’s processes.

IT Security Specialist

Fred Spook is the IT Security Specialist in the Corporate Security department. He’s a former spy (“If I told you which agency I worked for I would have to kill you,” he says with a wink whenever he’s asked.) who moved into the private sector when the first major security breeches were publicized. His background has made him rather paranoid and he delights in skewering the development teams with his arsenal of nasty security scenarios. As a result, most applications fail their first security review and require significant architectural refactoring before passing. The better development teams have learned to approach him for an early “off the record” security audit as soon as their design has stabilized.

Personas Often Found in a Product Company

Test Manager

Joseph Krawczak is the manager of the product verification group at Adventure Works. His team of professional testers verifies that the products built by the product development group work as specified by the product management team. His background is in testing telecom systems where he managed a 30 person testing department. When the telecom industry downsized he was given a sizable package and was hired by ABC Corp to head up it’s newly created Independent Test department. His mandate was to improve the quality of the products produced by Adventure Works. His team of professional testers is expected to provide him with the data required to determine whether the product is acceptable. He provides this data, along with a accept/reject recommendation to the Product Manager who makes the final decision. He is always prepared to back up his recommendation with a clear description of the business impact of the bugs that he feels must be fixed before he would be comfortable advising the product be accepted.

User Experience Specialist

Yvette Kirwan is a Fine Art major who got a job as a graphic artist in a media company. When conventional advertising work took a downturn, she was moved into the product design group where she did graphic design for web-based software applications. She quickly realized that the graphics were mainly eye-candy and that the real value was provided by the interaction design so she went back to school part time to get trained as an interaction designer. With this training under her belt she quickly became a key player in the design of software-intensive products at the company. She was hired by Adventure Works. specifically to work on the new product. Her role is to define the interaction design based on market requirements, user models and feedback from the product manager and the development. The designs need to be implementable in a cost efficient manner using the technology stack used by the product development team. While she is technically part of the UxD Team, she sits in the development area with the development team as she has found this to be a more effective way to transition design knowledge to the developers and their manager. She has also found it to be useful to enlist friends and people off the street to do informal usability testing of paper prototypes as well as the actual software. This gives her real data she can use to help influence the test department’s understanding the users.

Last edited Nov 7, 2009 at 2:09 AM by rburte, version 2


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