Agreed, Martin! The top tasks are business critical because if you can’t help customers do the most important things they want to do with you quickly and easily, you won’t have them as customers for very long.
The tiny tasks can of course become ‘top tasks’ at a certain point of the customer journey. They in this sense support an overall top task of, for example, purchasing or buying something. As you point out, it’s knowing the journey and placing the appropriate things at the exactly right point in the customer path.
Personas, if properly done, can be very good for helping develop empathy and understanding of the customer. I used to champion the persona approach a lot, but found out over the years that they often become fictional ‘perfect’ customers. Also, they don’t translate well into navigation, because people can have many different roles, and we found also that people don’t like clicking on links that put them into a particular persona category.
As you point out, we didn’t just stop after we identified top tasks. Working with your teams we have been measuring these tasks roughly every six months for the last five years. It’s a real credit to Cisco that you have embraced ‘continuous improvement’ in a real and genuine manner. The constant conversation is about making it easier for customers and saving them time completing their top tasks. We’re constantly observing and continuously improving.