How many times have we turned to the persona in the corner and asked: “Jane (or Jonathan), how does this solve your problem?” More often than not, this age-old advertising gimmick applied to our industry of creating great software products for people is not a be-all solution. There is no reason not to create a persona, but in that same light, don’t let that stop you from using all the other organizing processes and principles that have helped us to understand a problem, and to stay focused on it.
Personally, I like to document thoughts and ideas into high-quality prototypes. New idea for a page, build the element and add links to the side of the elements already agreed on. Ask one of your favorite QA team members to do a run through, then watch and listen over their shoulder. Get another person to try completing a process starting from half way through. Let two people run through a new feature and see how they talk about it - one listening and one doing. Let them make fun of it.
Sometimes I think what we do is part psychologist, part engineer (my dad would be proud), part organizer, and last but not least part designer. We need to marshall all of our experiences from all facets of our lives to understand how best to solve a problem. Often team members have great intuitive solutions that are worth adding to the prototype. Then, of course, each solution needs to be tested and evaluated.
So if Personas is your thing, do it. Then do all the other things that help you to organize your thoughts and feedback. Build prototypes based on feedback, then get ready to throw most of that out as soon as you learn something new from it that helps build the next better prototype. Remember each prototype is a version of your product that the (public) customer never had to live through.