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Im wondering what is the best way to introduce personas and how to start the general workflow.

I work at a insurance company as a UI and UX designer, the people in the company use internal application for most of the stuff they do daily.

Before i came to the company, the developers "designed" the applications and over the years the employees got really frustrated, thats why they hired me as the start of a design/ui/ux team.

Since working for internal people is new to me, im wondering whats the best way to start a persona workflow in my company? There are many stakeholders from different departments (for example: car insurance department, life insurance department etc.) all of these people will work with a single application since one of the company scopes is to merge over 49 (!) applications into one application.

I thought the best way would be to get to speak to everyone of those stakeholders and interview them about what frustrates them, what is wrong with the applications they work with now and what they wish for the future and take this as a basic scope to construct the application.

How would YOU do it? I have a freedom here, budget is kind of limited but the time of the stakeholders definitely is, thats why i want to interview them as short as possible with the best outcome and from there on create personas that i will communicate to the developers so everyone has the same users in mind when working on this new project.

Tipps and Tricks are really welcome.

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When introducing user research to an internal organization you should be precise at how you will output your research to the team, so that it can be fully understood and thoroughly discussed.

In my experience when handling complex research there are a few ways to approach the stakeholders and to organize all the findings later on.

As you mentioned contextual inquiry with individual stakeholders is a way to learn more about the problem space, as you are dealing with multiple potentially different use cases perhaps a survey will be a good starting point to identify pain points more generally.

If you're adopting a 1:1 interview with the stakeholders, be sure to adopt some sort of insight downloading after each interview to organize your insights (Matt Cooper from Ideo has some good articles on the subject - here).

As you are working with a desktop application, perhaps an usability test will be a good approach to both talk to the stakeholders and discover usability issues within the application itself. You can use the research sprint from GV applying also the five act interview.

To organize your findings you'll need to find behavioral patterns in your user base, because just because people are from different departments that does not necessarily means they behave differently around a desktop application.

In order to do that instead of using personas I've come to adopt the Jobs-to-be-done approach, since it approaches users in the specific tasks they want to complete whilst also providing context and motivation from the task. You could still create a empathy map to aggregate both demographic and psychographic findings into a easy visualization.

Furthermost presenting those findings to your stakeholders will also require some effort, the best way I've come to find is to create stories that stakeholders can relate to, that approach is heavily used in Airbnb and Uber alike as it is a powerful tool to get your point across.

I hope it helps with your research.

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