Jobs To Be Done: An Occasionally Useful UX Gimmick

Alan Klement's War On Jobs-To-Be-Done

Jobs To Be Done: An Occasionally Useful UX Gimmick

The Jobs To Be Done Playbook - Rosenfeld Media

Jobs-To-Be-Done Theory | Methodology | Strategyn

Fundamentals of Jobs-To-Be-Done Theory

As Theodore Levitt said, “people do not want a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter inch hole.” It is true. 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.

While most companies innovate by trying to improve their existing products (creating a better quarter-inch drill), the innovation process is dramatically improved by instead trying to find better ways to create a quarter-inch hole (to get the job done). The implication of this thinking is profound: stop studying the product and instead study the job that people are trying to get done. By making the job, rather than the product or the customer, the unit of analysis, we’ve made it possible for companies to achieve predictable growth.

Here’s how our jobs-to-be-done methodology works in practice. By focusing on the job-to-be-done, it becomes possible, for the first time, to know all the customer’s needs and determine which are unmet. It turns out that when customers are executing a job, they have a set of metrics in mind that define the successful execution of that job. These metrics (or desired outcomes) can be captured as actionable customer need statements that replace the customer inputs companies ordinarily capture and use to create new products. We have discovered that customers typically use between 50 and 150 distinct outcome statements to describe the successful execution of any job. These metrics are uniquely structured statements that describe how customers measure value. They are the perfect input into a process that is aimed at creating valued products and services.

What Jobs-To-Be-Done Theory Tells Us

Jobs-to-be-done theory tells us much more about customers, strategy, products and how managers should think about business, growth and innovation. The theory tells companies to heed the following bits of advice:

  1. Define your markets around the job-to-be-done. While most companies tend to define a market around a product, technology or a solution, when applying jobs-to-be-done theory, a market is defined as a job executor and the job that executor is trying to get done. For example, “parents” (the job executor) trying to “pass life lessons to their children” (the job to be done) is a market. Defining a market this way opens the door to a different type of market analysis, as the goal becomes analyzing the job to discover where parents struggle to get the job done, rather than analyzing the products they use for that purpose.