Know your users - what does it mean to you?


The tentative proposal (I’ll update that section in response to the discussion):

Know your users (e.g. customers, shareholders, regulators, staff)

Desired practices and behaviours

  1. Know who are your users, f.e. customers, regulators, employees, etc.
  2. Know what they are trying to achieve:
    a. what is their “official” purpose (f.e. reduce unemployment, help their customers)?
    b. what drives them (bonuses, return on investment, challenge, inertia)?
    c. if they are driven by other users (f.e. the board put under pressure by investors), you have to understand both groups, and their options
  3. Monitor feature requests and bug reports - if they are difficult to understand, the customer situation may be different from what it appears.
  4. If you can, experiment to uncover needs that have not been yet verbalised.

Useful resources

Knowledgable people in the field


Hey everyone,

to give you a bit of a context - I have created a clickable version of Simon’s doctrine table at doctrine.wardleymaps.com. A screenshot below:

One of the first comments was to add some sort of tooltip explanation of what specific patterns mean, and how they can be assessed. I must admit - I tend to be opinionated about those, but I would love to hear your opinion first.

What is your ‘Know your users’ checklist?

How do you know whether you know enough?

Do you have any useful resources or specific people to follow?

Hopefully, together, we will create an entire doctrine handbook :-), but for a starter, I propose to discuss items one by one.

I always think about “who needs to know about users” (not in a restrictive manner) to discover blindsided teams.
Then I check if we have a simple split of users into relevant categories (by revenue stream/stakeholder/regulator impact etc.) so we can at least validate we know them as those big buckets (before we go into Persona’s eventually).
Then I’d say it’s important to demonstrate the existence of communication channels (bidirectional ideally) and prove they have adequate engagement.
The above are basic stuff… more can be said going to into the meaty “know your user”… but i see many orgs lacking even the above.

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Excellent idea. It might turn into a succinct summary of different fields.

I will reply to this topic in more detail later from a perspective of a user researcher.

But anyway this is a nice article https://medium.com/@joeblair/wardley-maps-1-true-user-needs-18b39c9fedb1 – user needs are crucial part of our doctrine and have enourmous impact on our landscape and how we think about it…