What are these 'Jobs-To-Be-Done' you speak of?
According to Clayton Christensen (who came up with this framework) and his colleagues, a “ ‘Job’ is shorthand for what an individual really seeks to accomplish in a given circumstance.” (link) Since first being mentioned in Christensen’s book, The Innovator’s Dilemma, and being more deeply examined in a 2007 paper, the JTBD theory has become a key focus for concepting, developing and refining products of any sort. The thinking goes: if you’re not truly solving a job that the customer has, then you’re not going to sell much to them.
A ‘job’ isn’t just functional in nature, it is nuanced with many elements, including emotional ones. It shifts the focus of the product strategy from the attributes of the product to the resulting impact it has. JTBD opens up the question: what business am I really in? And it expands the competitive set to any number of possible solutions for the job, including choosing to not solve it.
Below are 4 articles that I found useful to more deeply understand a concept this morning (but definitely not exhaustive on the subject). They opened my mind not only to exactly how to define a JTBD, but also provided great frameworks for working with them.
I hope you find them as useful as I did.
Article 1 - Know your customers' "jobs to be done"
Overview from HBR and the man himself, Clayton Christensen (+3 colleagues). The article covers not only a deep definition of Jobs To Be Done (JBTDs), but how to use them to define products, customer experiences and organization processes to support. It also includes a great case study on the condo market that gives you a solid foundational understanding of what a JBTD really is.
Article 2: Technique 1 - Jobs to be Done
This is actually a chapter from the book “The Innovator’s Toolkit”, by David Silverstein, Dr. Phil Samuel and Neil DeCarlo. It offers another good overview of what a JTBD is, the different elements of JTBDs (functional and emotional), and how to put the theory into action including a 5-step process, and some useful analysis tools.
Article 3: Replacing The User Story With The Job Story
By Alan Klement
A very useful article from Alan Klement, posted in a medium publication SPECIFICALLY dedicated to Jobs-To-Be-Done (who knew!?). In it, Alan takes the JTBD theory and applies it at the feature-level of product design, replacing the oft-used “user stories” with the concept of “job stories.” I found this eye opening for how to apply this thinking to a development process, instead of just thinking of it for new-product ideation.
Article 4: Here’s why people will or won’t use your product
By Nathan Kinch
This is another great overview of the JTBD theory, this time by Nathan Kinch. Beyond the overview, he includes two tools to help designers and strategists work with JTBDs: (1) Job Maps, which help to deconstruct the jobs customers are trying to get done; and (2) The Switch Framework, which helps understand how customers approach deciding whether they’ll switch to a different solution to the job they’re hiring for.
Anyway, that’s it from me this morning. I hope you enjoyed my new format (a specific focus on a topic area, instead of random articles). Not sure how feasible this kind of deeper dive will be on a daily basis, but we’ll see how I go.
Thanks for reading!