Exploring Jobs to be Done (JTBD)
Valentin Huang 10/26/2023 PM Guide
5 Minutes

Jobs to be Done (JTBD) offers a unique viewpoint that enables businesses to closely study their consumer needs, target markets, segmentation, and competitors using a fresh approach. By understanding the specific jobs or needs that products fulfill in people's lives, the process of innovation becomes more profitable and predictable.

What is the "jobs to be done framework"?

The jobs-to-done framework is a step-by-step strategy to develop new products, while keeping in mind the goal and thought processes of the target consumer. The customer’s goal is referred to as the ‘job’ that needs to be completed. The thought processes of the customer pave the way for the ‘hiring’ of a particular product to fulfill the customer’s goal.

The JTBD framework allows the product team to explore and find out the underlying goals that their customers wish to attain as they purchase a product.

In a Jobs-to-be-Done framework, a product manager identifies and prioritizes customer jobs and needs to guide product development and ensure solutions align with customer goals.

Identifying your customers

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The first step to recognizing the needs of your customers is to define all of your customers. Ideally, a business can group all of its customers under three distinct categories:

The job executor

The job executor uses the product/service to fulfill the core functional job.

The product lifecycle support team 

The team comprises individuals who ensure the product’s success from its inception to retirement. Overall, the team is responsible for performing consumption chain jobs, such as development support, installation, maintenance and repair, transportation, quality assurance, customer service, and disposal.

The Buyer

The individual who eventually makes the financial decision to purchase a product is known as the ‘buyer’.

What types of jobs are they getting done?

The JTBD needs framework enlists five core jobs that are expected to be fulfilled by the product support teams and the job executor.

The core functional job

This is the fundamental task that the job executor is aiming to accomplish in the particular context. It serves as the central axis defining a market, and the very reason for its existence. Some examples may include safeguarding against cyber-attacks or healing a damaged rotator cuff. The ultimate aim of any product is to fulfill the core job more effectively and cost-efficiently than other solutions in the market.

Related jobs

Other than the core functional jobs, there are several additional jobs that the job executor is aiming to complete at any stage of the execution of the core job. When a product team develops an understanding of the related jobs, it becomes easier to increase product value and propose solutions that enable the customer to fulfill multiple tasks.

Emotional jobs

Emotional jobs can be explained as statements that outline how the job executor desires to be perceived or seen as he completes the core functional job. This includes social jobs as well. These inputs are valuable for crafting a unique value proposition that focuses on both the emotional and functional aspects.

Consumption chain jobs

From setting up and installing the product to transporting and storing it, the product lifestyle team partakes in a variety of roles throughout the product life cycle. This team is also responsible for cleaning, repairing, maintaining, and disposing of the product. Consumption chain jobs impact the overall consumer experience.

Purchase decision jobs

The purchase decision maker for the product team is responsible for deciding which products and services to invest in. These decisions are carefully taken under the light of all financial considerations and performance metrics. These considerations can also be referred to as ‘financial desired outcomes.

The desired outcomes for your customer

A profound understanding of the customer’s ideal job-to-be-done can be made by carefully evaluating the customers’ needs that should be fulfilled with the job. The product team may also have to rely on ongoing customer's product feedback to ensure that these solutions continually evolve to better meet those needs.

An effective approach to discovering customer needs is to understand and review the core functional job as a step-by-step process. It can be simplified into a job map, which is essentially a breakdown of the core functional job.

Once your company has the job map, you can explore and unleash a variety of metrics used by customers to gauge success for each step on the map. The desired outcomes or the metrics allow a great deal of likelihood and uncertainty to the innovation process.

The desired outcome statement

A desired outcome statement can be explained as an expressly crafted statement of needs comprising distinctive qualities:

  • stable over a period of time

  • controllable and measurable

  • defined using a step-by-step structure that helps in prioritizing (e.g. while conducting a quantitative customer survey), and

  • linked to the job that the customer is aiming to get done.

The implications of the JTBD process

As explained above, the JTBD framework offers a well-designed guide for comprehending the intricateness of the unique needs within a market. Every day, companies are bombarded with a plethora of customer data that allows them to comprehend the input requirements, a strategy of categorizing them and subsequently utilizing them.

Innovation is largely a game of probabilities if a company lacks such valuable insights. Without these, product teams will simply have to predict and guess an optimal path. Thus, having adequate inputs drastically transforms the testing, creation, marketing, and selling of products.

In Jobs-to-be-Done, understanding the customer journey helps identify key touchpoints where specific jobs and unmet needs can be addressed with tailored solutions.

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Putting theory into practice: outcomes-driven innovation

Outcome-driven innovation, often abbreviated for ODI, is an innovation process that allows a business to build, develop, and market top-notch products and services that are purely market-winning in nature. Using the ODI strategy, it is possible to enjoy a success rate that is nearly five times higher than the market average.

The ODI strategy allows for the business’s marketing efforts to be more innovative and fruitful in the long run. The hard work for innovation becomes more profitable and predictable, once the product team has an in-depth knowledge about the customer’s JTBD. In short, the implementation of ODI into the JTBD landscape allows a full-fledged transformation of defining and segmenting target markets, consumers, and their needs.

Partaking the Three-Step Approach

The process of job-to-be-done for your customers can be completed in three simple steps.

  1. Firstly, you need to define the market that you are studying on the whole. You will create the framework by figuring out the job that needs to be done.

  2. The second step is to make a job map, which simplifies the core job (identified in step 1) into small pieces or stages.

  3. Finally, you will fill in all the pieces by discovering the unique customer needs and jobs to be fulfilled for each step on the job map.

Concluding remarks

For effective implementation of the Jobs to be Done framework in your product management process, consider using platforms like Harvestr, your all-in-one management platform. Harvestr provides a comprehensive solution for collecting and managing customer feedback, ensuring that your products continually evolve to better address the specific job-related needs of your customers.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is an example of jobs to be done?

An example of a "job to be done" could be: "I need a quick and convenient way to communicate with my team while I'm on the go," which might lead to the development of a mobile messaging app like WhatsApp.

What is the JTBD process?

The Jobs to be Done (JTBD) process is a framework for understanding customer needs and motivations, involving the identification of the specific job a product or service fulfills and its continuous improvement to meet those needs. It typically includes four steps: identifying the job, creating a solution, testing it, and refining it based on customer feedback.

What is jobs to be done thinking?

Jobs to be Done" (JTBD) thinking is a customer-centered approach to innovation and product development that focuses on understanding the specific needs, goals, and motivations that lead customers to "hire" a product or service to get a particular job done in their lives.

What is a product as jobs to be done?

In the context of "Jobs to be Done" (JTBD), a product is seen as a tool or solution that customers "hire" to fulfill a specific job or need in their lives. Customers "hire" a product when they perceive it as the best way to achieve a particular outcome or address a specific problem.


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