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8 things to use in “Jobs-To-Be-Done”

framework for product development
Talk all you want to about the importance of strategy or operational
e7ciency, but the truth is that companies succeed because they o:er a
product or service that customers <nd irresistible.

Zbigniew Gecis Follow

Dec 17, 2015 · 7 min read

Jobs to be done: learn how to build great apps & servi…

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“Job-to-be-done” changed the way I am looking at the startup I am involved

with. It forces you to look at other perspectives and for many people “jobs to
be done” involves a mindset change. It forces you to look at our product the
way customers do.

Clayton Christensen described this concept in this paper he wrote with one
of the best tech entrepreneurs and product marketers of all-time, Scott
Cook of Intuit. Recently one of the pioneers of this concept, Bob Moesta,
started a consultancy and great podcast around this concept. They even
have a Twitter hashtag (#JTBD) about the topic.

The theory simply asks, “What job your product is hired to do?”. For
instance, most people would say they buy a lawnmower to “cut the grass,”
and this is true. But if a lawnmower company examines the higher purpose
of cutting the grass, say, “keep the grass low and beautiful at all times,” then
it might forgo some eNorts to make better lawnmowers in lieu of developing
a genetically engineered grass seed that never needs to be cut.

This is the power of the JTBD concept and technique: It helps the innovator
understand that customers don’t buy products and services; they hire
various solutions at various times to get a wide array of jobs done. You may
need light survey design and sampling help from a statistician to apply this
technique, but for the most part it requires no expert assistance, so you can
try to use it right after you Tnish reading this article.

1. Identify Jobs Customers Are Trying to Get Done

Henry Ford didn’t think about the “job” as a “faster horse” but as “getting from
Point A to Point B as quickly as possible.”

You want to study customers and Tnd out what they are trying to
accomplish — especially under circumstances that leave them with
insuVcient solutions relative to available processes and technologies. What
jobs have ad hoc solutions or no good solutions? When you see customers Top highlight

piecing together solutions themselves, these are great clues for innovation.

Christensen would assert that people buy any product to get a job done. The
best example he gives is describing market research he and his team did to
understand fully why people bought milkshakes. This was after the
milkshake selling company had carried out traditional market research and
marketing with no success. Clay and his team found people were actually
buying milkshakes because they were easy to drink in the car and helped
break up the boredom of the morning commute. I won’t delve to deep into
this case study if you want to read more look here.

Innovation Summit '09, Clayton Christensen (Clip #4, T…

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2. Categorize the Jobs to be Done

The “job” has a lot of “requirements” — not just functional but also emotional
and social, which suggests that context and circumstances are important.

There are two diNerent types of JTBDs:

1. Main jobs to be done, which describe the task that customers want to

2. Related jobs to be done, which customers want to accomplish in

conjunction with the main jobs to be done.

Then, within each of these two types of JTBDs, there are:

Functional job aspects — the practical and objective customer


Emotional job aspects — the subjective customer requirements related to

feelings and perception.

Finally, emotional job aspects are further broken down into:

Personal dimension — how the customer feels about the solution.

Social dimension — how the customer believes he or she is perceived by

others while using the solution.


One JTBD is to organize and manage music for personal use. An important
functional aspect of this job is to listen to the music. A related
emotional/personal job is to organize and manage music in a way that feels
good; a related emotional/social job is to share songs with friends. Related
jobs might be to download songs from the Internet, make playlists, discard
unwanted songs, and pass the time.

3. De>ne competitors
You need to deMne few cases: for what job your product is hired for, why it got
Mred, and why your customer switched to other solution

If someone’s Job is to quickly satisfy their hunger on-the-go, they may

consider a pizza…but also a sandwich, a burrito, sushi, Snickers, or even
nothing — preferring to wait for another opportunity to eat.

Knowing what products are in a customer’s consideration set for a Job,

gives insight into what products a customer considers as competition for
their Job to be done.

That means that your product could compete with a bunch of diNerent
services from a diNerent group of products.

4. Create Job Statements

Action + object + context

Source: “Giving Customers a Fair Hearing”, Anthony Ulwick; Lance Bettencourt, MIT SLOAN Management
Review, Vol. 49, No.

Key components of a job statement are an action verb, the object of the
action, and clariTcation of the context in which the job is performed.

5. Prioritize the JTBD Opportunities

There are hundreds of jobs that customers are trying to get done in every
market. Which one of these oRers the best opportunities for you?

You might try to use Likert Scale & ask customers how important the job is,
and how satisTed they are with an existing solution or service.

Likert Scale

A Likert Scale can also work for assessing the level of satisfaction customers
have with current solutions.


Under-served JTBD
A core growth innovation strategy (make the existing solution better).

Over-served JTBD
A disruptive innovation strategy (remake the solution so it becomes
available to those who can’t aNord the existing solution).

Served right JBTD

When your assessment shows opportunities in the middle that are served
right, you should focus on related jobs to be done.

You can tell when a company thinks in term s of JTBDs because the result
not only fulTlls a need, but is often quite innovative. Consider the recent
developments in self-cleaning glass for cars and high-rise buildings, or in
car paint that heals itself and, thereby, removes the need to paint over
scratches. While you could think of painting scratches as a JTBD, it really
isn’t. Painting scratches is actually a solution for accomplishing the JTBD
called maintain a blemish-free vehicle.

6. List the JTBD’s Related Outcome Expectations

What criteria would the customer use to decide which solution to hire or use?

Think in terms of time, cost, potential errors, quality, dependability,

availability, ease of use, maintainability, and any number of other
satisfaction and dissatisfaction dimensions.

Outcome expectations are solution-neutral and reside at a higher level; they

are JTBD-speciTc desires.

There are four types of outcome expectations:

1. Desired outcomes customers want to achieve.

2. Undesired outcomes customers want to avoid.

3. Desired outcomes providers want to achieve.

4. Undesired outcomes providers want to avoid.

For example, the job of safely transporting passengers from point A to point
B has many associated outcome expectations, such as minimize the jerking
motion a passenger feels while being transported, have a possibility to do his
job while his traveling, and etc.

7. Create Outcome Statements

Improvement + measure + object of control

It is important to ensure that jobs-to-be-done and desired-outcome

statements use consistent, unambiguous language so as to be easily
understood and readily translated into technical speciTcations.

During data-gathering interactions, you can conTrm desired-outcome

statements with the customers themselves. After selecting the most relevant
desired outcomes you can then conduct a quantitative survey to determine
how important each desired outcome is and how satisTed customers are
with their current product or service.

8. Jobs evolve much more slowly than we think

Let’s Remember Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

People buy products and services to get jobs done; and while products come
and go, the underlying job-to-be-done does not go away. This notion is at
the heart of jobs-to-be-done theory.

If you remember anything about jobs to be done, remember this: they are
completely neutral of the solutions you create (your products and services).
While a customer JTBD remains fairly stable over time, your products and
services should change at strategic intervals as you strive to provide
everincreasing value.

As Christenson says, “at a fundamental level, the things that people want to
accomplish in their lives don’t change quickly.”

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Zbigniew Gecis Follow

Design team lead @ Shift 4 Payments

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