Why Personas Don't Work Anymore (Roles)

The circles that create that base part of the model are a shift in thinking about our roles as engineers. We've long used personas as the default way to divide audiences. Personas bother me because I think they either oversimplify someone's career or needlessly complicate it. Few people fit cleanly and completely into persona-based buckets anymore. The lines have gotten really fuzzy.

Perhaps most critically, I believe personas are immutable. A persona is wholly dependent on how someone identifies themselves. It's intrinsic, not extrinsic. Our titles change. We shift jobs. But you probably still think of yourself as a developer or a DevOps engineer or a security engineer. I was a developer. I will always identify as a developer despite doing work in other areas. That background, my skill set, it influence my thinking and my approach. Roles are very different. Roles are temporary, inconsistent, and constantly fluctuating.

Let's say I was an actress, the parts I may play would be lengthy and varied, but the persona I would identify with would still be an actor, an artist. Your work is not confined to a single set of skills. It may have been ten years ago. It is not today. And beyond all of this is perhaps an even more important concept. We aren't just devs and ops and QA anymore.

We are all of those things at various times. No matter what role we play, we have to consider a number of issues.

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