Here’s the Story… of a – something – something…: Personas in a ‘System Shall’ World

Elevator Pitch

Many organizations and teams jump headlong into adopting Agile methods leveraging User Stories only to find that their teams don’t really know their users. How then do these teams establish their User Experience without knowing their users? In a world were requirements were traditionally written explaining that the “system shall” do something, replacing the nondescript system with an actual persona poses a significant challenge to some organizations. Dan Gilio provides insight into techniques to elicit the requisite information from teams to drive them away from “system shall” thinking and into the realm of personas leading to the development of a varied and valued user experience.


Rather than dealing in abstract concepts and hypothetical situations, this presentation will focus on real-world examples of teams who have struggled with Personas and the techniques employed to not only draw out the information from the newly forming Agile teams, but to highlight the value of identifying the varied user details to both team members and management.

Activities will include an audience participation session were we look at a real-world example of how to breakdown a User Story. As we walk through this as a group, my intent is for the attendees to contribute to the session with their own insight and experience to show how using Personas to break out requirements is a valuable technique to ensure that the functionality of applications meets the needs of a variety of customers.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Agile Coaches / ScrumMasters will learn techniques to draw out personas from their Agile Teams
  • Organizations undertaking Agile transformations will understand that Personas are often not a concept which comes easily to their teams.
  • All attendees will learn the overall value of utilizing Personas in the writing and refinement of stories
  • Agile Team members will understand the value of aligning personas to the establishment the overall user experience



Daniel Gilio

Dan Gilio has nearly 25 years’ experience specializing in enabling Software Development organizations to achieve a new level of success in a variety of highly competitive industries. He has extensive ...