Enhancing Data Personas through research

The Challenge

The Data Standards Team in Scottish Government were in the process of developing a Data Transformation Framework (DTF) which aims to enable organisations to understand their data maturity & improve data reuse. It will embed the widespread use of data standards and technologies to improve the quality and interoperability of data and information assets across the Scottish public sector.

To enable the framework to be tested and validated for all the different user types operating at different levels of data maturity, the Data Standards team sought to develop evidence-based data personas that could be used by the Scottish Government.

The Scottish Government commissioned User Vision to conduct workshops with relevant data professionals to review and validate these existing personas within the scope of the public sector users that would engage with the DTF and support data maturity assessments.

The project aim was to understand the completeness of existing persona sets and to identify any gaps so that these could be developed further, which would provide helpful context for implementing the Data Transformation Framework.

Our approach

User Vision worked in partnership with Effini, a specialised data science consultancy whose domain expertise contributed valuable additional insights when validating the existing personas and researching with people working with data.

As the existing personas were in a variety of formats from a number of previous sources, the first step was to collate these personas into a common format that would facilitate easy comparison.

Pre-existing persona information from Digital Scotland and Datacamp.com that were researched to develop the draft personas.Existing data persona sets from Digital Scotland, Datacamp and others sources fed into the draft personas near the start of the proposal.

The research of existing persona data sets generated a long list of draft candidate personas which would form the basis for the validation exercise.

The two main activities for gathering information to examine and validate the draft personas were:

  • An online survey was distributed to individuals working with data in a variety of roles in the public sector. The role of this questionnaire was to gain a broad understanding of the participants' current engagement with data, especially on the types of data they work with, data activities, tools and training needs.
  • Two types of workshops were then held with 16 participants using an online whiteboard platform. The workshops focused on gaining a fuller understanding of how these individuals and their teams used data and discussing barriers and potential improvements to how they worked with data.

The outputs from these activities were then analysed by User Vision and Effini to look for trends and common themes in terms of data activities performed, barriers to effective data operations and opportunities for improved technology and processes.

We then produced a report detailing how the survey responses and workshops mapped onto the draft of personas, where there were gaps in the draft persona set and where descriptions needed to be revised.

The result

The report of the findings from the survey and workshops gave the Scottish Government project team a clearer current view of the types of interactions that various public sector workers typically have with data and where further work is required to full. The main focus of the report was the refined set of personas including priority personas. These will be used by the Scottish Government to better target the rollout of the DTF based on understanding opportunities and constraints in the current data-related activities in the Scottish Government.

The survey, workshops and resulting report allowed the Scottish Government to optimise their approach to the roll-out of the Data Transformation Framework and helped them to target more effectively the individuals who would most benefit from the process.

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