I have recently been exposed to the world of UX/UI and ID. I have been critic of the practice of spending too much time on documentation as compared to the development. However, I have now realized that these things are very very important for effective product and my understanding was totally wrong. I cannot piece the puzzle and feel that something is missing and hence I am seeking help here.

What I have already done

After reading the book About Face, I have decided to pursue a project and started to plan for it. Since the book focuses on the Goal-directed design approach, I am following it. I have done my research, interviewed people, and made personas.

What I need help with

Since I have all the personas ready, my questions are as follow

  1. How can I translate the persona into software functional documentation
  2. As User Goals are not product Features, how do you define product features based on goals?
  3. Once you have a feature list, what steps or processes do you undertake to convert features to development plans or milestones?


  • If you aren't a source of solutions and you expect potential users to tell you what to build, it won't end out well. Users and Personas are for bouncing your potential solutions against, i.e. you still have to be a source of ideas.
    – straya
    Apr 5, 2020 at 23:52

2 Answers 2


What are you building? In my experience the best example I've had for personas being really useful is to use the User Goals/Needs to create User Flows. This was building websites at an advertising agency for clients that had large amounts of information online. Often times the client's business goals, our marketing goals and the users goals for visiting the site would be in conflict. Using User Flows based on personas was easy to make a defendable cases for addressing users needs first then creating opportunities to move them into other goal streams.

Other than that there are 2 other ways I've seen Personas successfully used. User Testing with internal resources and/or shareholders. It's not ideal but if you're in a place where you can't do proper user testing using Personas to allow internal subjects to roleplay as the persona is helpful. In an Agile environment with a large feature backlog adding User Goals to the features will help the PO make user focused decisions.

Now that I've rambled, to answer your questions:

  1. Don't? Create User Goals, User Flows and Features independently than compare against each other to either make decision or add more value to the features.

  2. If you have a User Goal not being met write a User Story (as I blank, I need to blank, so I can blank) to fill the gap then come up with a feature around that need.

  3. Readup on Backlog Grooming, that sounds like what you're asking for.

  1. In order to translate your persona into software functional documentation, I would suggest using user story mapping to help determine and organize product features and functionality to solve the users' problems or meet their needs that were highlighted by the persona's goals and pain points. This will help communicate the user needs in a product functionality way and allow developers and designers to act on it.

  2. To define your product features based on user goals, I would suggest using the jobs to be done methodology. It helps to translate what the users need or goal is to what the technology screen or tool should do at that moment. You take your user goals that you have encountered throughout the journey and then determine what features are necessary to meet that goal. For example, if your user is looking to find a daycare center that offers day care for a 5 year old then the feature should allow the user to filter for age (example from a project I've worked on).

  3. I think it depends on your methodology for product management. Different types of agile, lean, and waterfall. I think iteration and implementation requires effort from multiple stakeholders and could potentially be a never ending process of iteration.

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