What is the Jobs-To-Be-Done Framework?

The Jobs-To-Be-Done Framework is a methodology that helps product teams categorize, define, capture, and organize unmet customer needs. Teams work to isolate the higher-level tasks a customer wants to accomplish in a given circumstance (the job) vs. focusing on their demographic or psychographic profile. JTBD posits that people don’t buy products, they “hire” them to complete a task and make progress in their lives. Purchase decisions are made based on the product’s ability to get a job done, effectively, at the best price. The JTBD method prescribes how to systematically break down the job customers want done into discrete steps, then brainstorm ways to make steps easier, faster, or unnecessary. Jobs-to-be-done are then validated through qualitative and quantitative analysis. This framework was developed by Tony Ulwick, and popularized by Harvard professor Clay Christensen.

What are the three types of jobs-to-be-done?

There are three types of JTBD: functional, emotional/social, and consumption chain jobs. Functional jobs are goals that people are trying to achieve in their personal or professional lives; they are real and measurable. Emotional/social jobs are how a customer wants to feel or be perceived while executing the functional job. Consumption chain jobs occur as the consumer uses the solution (e.g., clean, store, maintain, upgrade, dispose of). Together, these three types of jobs describe a customer’s full experience with your solution.

What are the steps of the jobs-to-be-done framework?

The JTBD framework includes the following steps: 1) Create a job statement and job map describing the core job and the steps the customer goes through to complete their job. 2) Conduct interviews to validate and improve your job map. 3) Quantitatively validate each step to understand where your customers are struggling the most to have their needs met. 4) Identify the areas of biggest opportunity. 5) Identify solutions.

What is a jobs-to-be-done statement?

A JTBD statement often has a specific structure, content and syntax, though the order of these elements may change, i.e., As a (self-description)… I want to (desire/motivation)… when (situation/context)… so that I can (outcome/result)… without (pain point/constraint).

How do we use jobs-to-be-done?

The JTBD approach can be used to understand what drives customer behavior, agree on how to define markets, customers, segments and competitors, and foster a customer-centered innovation mindset. It provides a discipline and shared language to support innovation efforts. This approach can be used to guide individual product or product strategy decisions, or to align the company more broadly around customer needs.

Why is jobs-to-be-done important in product development?

The JTBD framework is important in product development because it helps teams focus on customers’ true needs and desires. It shifts the focus from who the customers are (aka personas), product attributes, new technologies or trends, to the job they are trying to get done and their desired outcomes after using a product or service. This disciplined approach and focus on unmet needs can help make innovation more predictable and profitable.

What is an example of a company that successfully uses the JTBD framework in their product development?

An example of a company that successfully uses the JBTD framework is the often-told example of a fast-food restaurant trying to drive milkshake consumption as explained by Harvard Professor Clay Christensen here.