How Spotify uses personas to make product decisions

I always love a good persona case study, and The Story of Spotify Personas is no exception. But more than the story behind it, I am most interested in how teams use their personas (if at all). So I was happy to see the team devote some time to that towards the end of the article:

For instance, teams that want to create features from scratch can now choose their personas, map out the existing opportunities, pick a direction and start ideating from there. Although personas don’t replace user research, they can help us create educated hypotheses and save us time – meaning we don’t need to run foundational research every time we want to explore a new topic within the music listening experience. Our teams can now focus their resources on diving deeper into problems from the level set by the personas.

Equally, when teams are more focused on maintaining features, they can now map out their work and see how different personas would use it. They can create mental model diagrams for different personas and discover how they experience their journeys. And in doing so, they can refine the features to better fit certain ways of listening to music, whilst making sure they don’t alienate others.

I know I’m kind of in the minority here, but I am still a fan of personas—if they are based on actual research, and used to make better product decisions.