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Failure to launch: The value of user profiles

Failure to launch: The value of user profiles

Do you know who your target customers are? Whether you are building a product or developing a new service offering, it is important to know and understand your target customer base.

Many products and solutions fail because the project team did not take the time to understand the attributes of their customer or end-user: the who, what, where, when, and how. These attributes can all be captured in a user profile that can be referenced throughout the entire project cycle.

When beginning a project, the project team should determine the target customer base for that product or service. Once the target customer has been identified, it is important to capture and create a user profile for that specific customer base.

Typically, the user profile of a specific individual captures their goals, needs and values, tasks, tools, and desires and frustrations. After creating the user profile for the typical customer or end-user, the entire project team can reference that document as they develop the product or service offering.

A good user profile can help address the following about an individual or group of individuals: 

  • Who are the key individuals or groups of individuals that will be utilizing the tool? 
  • What are the individual’s goals? ·  What does the individual need to accomplish its goals?
  • What does the individual value most and least?
  • What types of tasks does the individual need to perform?
  • Are there existing tools the individual utilizes?
  • What frustrates the individual? What excites the individual?

User profiles are extremely valuable tools that provide an entire project team – from project managers to designers to developers to operations – an understanding of whether the product or service offering will meet the target customer’s needs. So the next time you are trying to figure out who and what your target customer needs are, first build a user profile around that individual, and you and your team will breeze through developing the product and/or service offering.

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