Which persona are you in the workflow?

By watching and analyzing how people work, the project design team at Dow Jones discovered that there are several different personas represented in the professional workflow. The yearlong research examines the “core ecosystem of information” inside the enterprise and how users seek, search and share information.

Vice President of product design and information architecture at Dow Jones, Greg Merkle, says that while a person’s title may describe their job functions, they don’t tell you how each of them fits into the overall workflow as different people have different behavior when it comes to the handling of information. The created personas puts more focus on the behavior of key individuals rather than just what they do which give you a better understanding of the people you work with. The six personas, as described by Merkle, are:

  • The Compass – An executive visionary who relies on past, present and future patterns, activities, and forecasts to make long-term decisions; needs high-level views as well as granular information.
  • The Connector – A strategic bridge in a company who is embroiled in all facets of the news; curates and shares information with colleagues and clients.
  • The Captain – A leadership delegator who monitors trends in the industry and focuses on analyzing new information to influence short-term decisions; passes along initial research to others.
  • The Miner – A self-motivated investigator who seeks industry-specific information and searches current events; needs information to keep up-to-date on industry opportunities.
  • The Scout – A news seeker who channels information to what is needed for current work projects; focuses on topics in his or her specific responsibility area.
  • The InfoPro – A next-generation corporate librarian who is adept at using search and databases; assesses value of market reports and white papers.

The results from the study showed that people who used an information portal to obtain knowledge and information was very unsuccessful in doing so. As Merkle said; “we all know that knowledge is exchanged in emails”. It was also clear that people were storing information inefficiently in emails or on C drives. “What we uncovered in this recent research was the concept of how important current awareness and monitoring tools were”, says Merkle.

The goal at Dow Jones product design is to provide tools that help users move from a technically led organization to a user led organization. Merkle says that he is now seeing a natural movement toward self-service and a natural efficiency toward getting information.

From: Information Today, December 2011, Volume 28, no 11, p.13

The article will be available online at; http://www.infotoday.com/IT/dec11/index.shtml, later this month.