Jobs to be Done

Focus on your customers underlying desires and motivation.
Contributed by

Moises Romero

Published April 24, 2024

What Is Jobs to be Done?

Jobs to be Done (JTBD) is an approach in product and service development that focuses on understanding the fundamental needs that motivate consumers to purchase or use a particular product. Instead of focusing on the features of the product itself, the JTBD approach concentrates on what customers are trying to accomplish when they "hire" a product or service to perform a specific task in their lives.

For example, a person might "hire" an electric drill not because they want a drill, but because they need to make holes in the wall to hang a picture. In this sense, the job the customer needs to get done is hanging a picture, and the drill is simply a tool that helps them accomplish that job.

The framework was developed by Tony Ulwick to help product and service development teams better understand customer needs and motivations, which in turn can inform more effective decisions in design, marketing, and product development.

Why Do Jobs to be Done?

Using the Job to be Done (JTBD) framework offers several benefits in product and service development:

  1. Customer-Centric Approach: JTBD helps teams shift their focus from product features to understanding what customers are trying to achieve. By understanding the underlying motivations of customers, teams can create products and services that truly address their needs.
  2. Identifying Unmet Needs: By examining the jobs customers are trying to get done, teams can uncover unmet needs or pain points in the market. This allows for the development of innovative solutions that fill gaps in the current offerings.
  3. Market Differentiation: Understanding the specific jobs customers are trying to accomplish can help differentiate products and services in the market. By focusing on unique aspects of the job, teams can create offerings that stand out from competitors.
  4. Improved Product Development: JTBD provides a clear framework for making product development decisions. Teams can prioritize features and enhancements based on how well they help customers complete the job at hand, leading to more effective product development.
  5. Targeted Marketing and Messaging: By understanding the jobs customers are trying to accomplish, teams can tailor their marketing and messaging to resonate with customers' motivations. This leads to more effective communication and increased customer engagement.

How to do Jobs to be Done?

  1. Identify Target Customers: Define the specific customer segment or market you want to focus on. This could involve demographic factors, psychographic characteristics, or specific industries.
  2. Define the Job: Identify the job or jobs that customers are trying to accomplish within your chosen market segment. A job is the fundamental task or goal that customers are trying to achieve. It's essential to define jobs in clear and specific terms.
  3. Conduct Customer Interviews: Engage with your target customers through interviews or surveys to understand the context of the job. Ask open-ended questions to uncover the challenges, frustrations, and desired outcomes associated with completing the job. Focus on understanding the circumstances that lead customers to "hire" a product or service to get the job done.
  4. Identify Job Steps and Outcomes: Break down the job into specific steps or actions that customers take to complete it. Also, identify the desired outcomes or goals that customers aim to achieve by completing the job successfully. This helps in understanding the customer journey and the points where they may encounter obstacles or inefficiencies.
  5. Analyze Customer Data: Analyze the data gathered from customer interviews to identify patterns, themes, and insights related to the jobs and associated needs. Look for common pain points, unmet needs, and opportunities for improvement.
  6. Develop Customer Personas: Create customer personas based on the insights gathered from the interviews and data analysis. Personas represent fictional characters that embody the characteristics, goals, and challenges of your target customers. Use personas to empathize with customers and guide decision-making throughout the product development process.
  7. Generate Solutions: Brainstorm potential solutions or product concepts that address the identified jobs and customer needs. Focus on creating solutions that provide clear value propositions and alleviate pain points associated with completing the job.
  8. Prototype and Test: Develop prototypes or minimum viable products (MVPs) based on the selected solutions. Test these prototypes with real customers to gather feedback and validate assumptions. Iterate on the prototypes based on the feedback received to refine the solutions further.
  9. Iterate and Refine: Continuously iterate on the product or service based on customer feedback and market insights. Use an iterative approach to refine the offering, improve usability, and address any emerging needs or challenges.
  10. Launch and Monitor: Launch the final product or service in the market and monitor its performance closely. Gather data on customer usage, satisfaction, and outcomes to assess the product's impact and identify opportunities for optimization or expansion.

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Check out these great links which can help you dive a little deeper into running the Jobs to be Done practice with your team, customers or stakeholders.

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