How long does it take to create personas?

The process of manually crafting personas can be a time consuming one. Wrangling tons of data, conducting interviews and surveys, more data crunching, setting up workshops to actually create the personas. All that while trying to held out personal biases that would screw the whole process.
And even Mnemonic is biased.
We at Mnemonic AI believe it should take no time at all to create the personas, but let AI do the heavy lifting.

So we looked at research and studies conducted on the topic. For instance, The Nielsen Norman Group (NNG) conducted a survey on the amount of time and work spent by companies of varying sizes to create personas. Data from 216 companies was collected to understand what affects time effort and budgets of persona creation initiatives.

NNG makes an interesting distinction in the processes of persona generation itself: empirical vs. nonempirical. Nonempirical are approaches are based solely on existing knowledge about users (As data people we would have a lot of questions how that differentiates from pure guesswork. However, the study itself is fascinating and we highly recommend reading it.). Empirical approaches include all the glorious data wrangling and number crunching we all love.

In generell NNG can define three steps everyone has undergone to create personas:

  1. Research and or data gathering
  2. Analyzing data
  3. Crafting the persona

Data takes time

Surprisingly there was no big difference in the time spent on research and data gathering in the two approaches. Nonempirical approach took 41% for research, empirical 45% of the total amount spent on the persona process.
So even if one plans on going the nonempirical route, be prepared to spend some time with research.
30% was spent on analyzing data and 29% of total time spent was used for the final step of crafting personas in the nonempirical way. By comparison 29% analyzing, 26% crafting for an empirical approach.

How many hours to create personas?

The NNG study breaks the process further down by company size and the different approaches used:
Time to create personas

One could say the larger the company, the more empirical the approach, the more staff hours spent to complete the persona process.
NNG found that large companies with an empirical approach time used to create personas took from 55 up to a staggering 102.5 hours.

While one might value handcrafted things, Mnemonic AI believes you should save your time for using personas in exciting marketing campaigns and product developments rather than creating a tool to do so. So expedite this lengthy process and leverage AI for creating personas needed to excel in your job. Want to know how? Drop us a line.

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