Jobs to be done (JTBD) is a product development methodology that assumes that people only engage with products or services insofar as they help them satisfy some fundamental need, called a job. A "job" is a process of reaching some objective under given circumstances. It might be emotional, functional, or social. And, any given job may itself comprise many smaller jobs.
Jobs tend to be stable over time, in contrast to solutions, which may change as new technologies emerge.
These jobs exist independently of the means used to accomplish them. Companies, in essence, compete with one another by creating value through solving the job better than anyone else.
According to Jim Kalbach, JTBD is less of a methodology and more a way of thinking. It helps organizations and teams deliver value by focusing on what customers actually want to achieve. It reminds product teams that, in general, customers don't want to actually interact with their company; they just want to arrive at their desired end state.
In contrast to personas, which tend to lack deep context, JTBD brings context to the fore.
There are five key points to remember:
- JTBD as a framework assumes that nobody actually wants your product. They want to achieve an outcome or objective.
- A job is a process that someone undertakes to achieve that outcome. Your product can help with this.
- Jobs can be multi-faceted. Main jobs can comprise many subordinate jobs. They can be functional, but also emotional or social.
- Customer segments are best defined by shared needs and desired outcomes, not demographics.
- JTBD does not specify solutions. It’s about capturing needs.
- ¶ Persona
- Methods to overcome the limitations of personas
- JTBD Job Interview Structure
- Use JTBD stories to foreground the context in which a solution is required
- Focus product development on customer jobs that are important, tangible, unsatisfied, and lucrative
Kalbach, Jim, and Michael Schrage. The Jobs To Be Done Playbook: Align Your Markets, Organization, and Strategy Around Customer Needs. New York: Two Waves Books, 2020.