Jobs-to-be-Done (JTBD) Framework

“People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter-inch hole. People don’t want to buy transportation, they want to go somewhere. People don’t want to buy entertainment, they want to be entertained.”

– Clayton Christensen

 
The Jobs-to-be-Done (JTBD) framework is a product management approach that focuses on understanding the “job” that a customer is trying to get done with a product or service. The idea is that customers don’t necessarily buy products because they want the product itself, but rather because they want to accomplish a specific task or achieve a particular outcome.

Here are the key components of the JTBD framework:

The “job” that the customer is trying to get done: This is the specific task or outcome that the customer is trying to achieve.

The “related jobs”: These are non-core jobs that a customer may try to achieve with a product or service.

The “functional job”: This is the core functionality that the product must provide in order to help the customer get their job done.

The “emotional job”: This is the intangible, emotional benefit that the customer seeks to gain from using the product.

The “social job”: This is the benefit that the customer seeks to gain from using the product in a social context, such as impressing others or fitting in with a particular group.

The “pain points”: These are the problems or challenges that the customer experiences while trying to get their job done.

By understanding all these components, product managers can design products and features that better meet the holistic needs of their customers and help them achieve their desired outcomes.
 

The Three Types of Customers


In the Jobs-to-be-Done (JTBD) framework, there are generally three types of customers:

Job executors: These are the customers who are actively trying to get a specific job done. They are the primary focus of the JTBD framework, and their needs and desires are central to understanding the job that they are trying to get done.

The product lifecycle team: These are the customers who support the lifecycle of the product, including installers, implementors, support, maintenance, break-fix, etc. Designing products so they can get their “job” done faster and better will create more value for the customer and drive competitive differentiation.

Decision makers: These are the customers who are responsible for approving or purchasing the product or service that will be used to get the job done. They might include managers, executives, or procurement professionals who have the authority to make purchasing decisions.

It’s important to consider the needs and perspectives of all three types of customers in the JTBD framework, as they can all impact the success and value creation of a product or service.
 

The “Job”


The “job” that the customer is trying to get done refers to the specific task or outcome that the customer is trying to achieve. It’s important to understand this job because it helps product managers and designers focus on the needs and desires of the customer, rather than just the features and capabilities of the product.

For example, if a customer is trying to get the job of “transporting goods from one location to another,” they might consider using a truck, a train, or an airplane. Each of these options might be able to complete the functional job of transportation, but they might differ in terms of their emotional or social benefits, or the pain points that the customer experiences while using them. A truck might offer the benefit of being able to transport large or oddly-shaped items, but it might be less comfortable or efficient for long distances. An airplane might offer the benefit of being able to transport goods quickly, but it might be more expensive or less flexible than other options.

By understanding the specific job that the customer is trying to get done, product managers and designers can design products and features that better meet the needs and expectations of their customers. They can also identify opportunities to differentiate their product from competitors by addressing unmet needs or pain points that other products do not address.
 

“Related Jobs”


In the Jobs-to-be-Done (JTBD) framework, “related jobs” refer to tasks or outcomes that are related to the primary job that the customer is trying to get done, but are not necessarily the main focus of the job.

For example, if a customer is trying to get the job of “keeping their home clean and tidy,” a related job might be “getting rid of pests,” or “keeping the home well-ventilated.” These tasks are related to the overall goal of keeping the home clean and tidy, but are not necessarily the main focus of the job.

Understanding related jobs can help product managers and designers identify additional opportunities to meet the needs of their customers and differentiate their product from competitors. For example, a vacuum cleaner that also has a feature for trapping and eliminating pests might be more attractive to customers who are trying to get the job of keeping their home clean and tidy.

 

“Functional Jobs”


In the Jobs-to-be-Done (JTBD) framework, the “functional job” is the core functionality that the product must provide in order to help the customer get their job done. It’s important to understand the functional job because it defines the basic requirements that the product must meet in order to be useful to the customer.

For example, if a customer is trying to get the job of “transporting goods from one location to another,” the functional job of a truck might be to have a large cargo area, a sturdy chassis, and a powerful engine. If a customer is trying to get the job of “keeping their home clean and tidy,” the functional job of a vacuum cleaner might be to have a strong motor, a dustbin, and a long and flexible hose or nozzle for sucking up dirt and debris.

By understanding the functional job of their product, product managers and designers can ensure that they are meeting the basic needs of their customers and can identify opportunities to differentiate their product from competitors by adding additional features or capabilities that go beyond the functional job.
 

The “Emotional Job”


In the Jobs-to-be-Done (JTBD) framework, the “emotional job” is the intangible, emotional benefit that the customer seeks to gain from using the product. It’s important to understand the emotional job because it helps product managers and designers understand the deeper motivations and desires of their customers, and can help them create products that are more meaningful and satisfying to use.

For example, if a customer is trying to get the job of “keeping their home clean and tidy,” the emotional job might be “feeling proud and accomplished,” or “reducing stress and anxiety.” These emotional benefits might not be directly related to the functional job of cleaning, but they are important to the customer and can influence their decision to use a particular product or service.

By understanding the emotional job of their product, product managers and designers can design products and features that address the deeper needs and desires of their customers, and can create a more emotional connection with their products.
 

The “Social Job”


In the Jobs-to-be-Done (JTBD) framework, the “social job” is the benefit that the customer seeks to gain from using the product in a social context, such as impressing others or fitting in with a particular group. It’s important to understand the social job because it helps product managers and designers understand how their products fit into the larger context of the customer’s social life, and can help them create products that are more meaningful and satisfying to use in social situations.

For example, if a customer is trying to get the job of “keeping their home clean and tidy,” the social job might be “impressing guests with a well-maintained home,” or “feeling like a good parent or spouse by providing a clean and safe environment for their family.” These social benefits might not be directly related to the functional or emotional jobs of cleaning, but they are important to the customer and can influence their decision to use a particular product or service.

By understanding the social job of their product, product managers and designers can design products and features that address the social needs and desires of their customers, and can create a more meaningful and satisfying social experience with their products.
 

The “Pain Points”


In the Jobs-to-be-Done (JTBD) framework, “pain points” are the challenges or difficulties that the customer experiences while trying to get their job done. It’s important to understand pain points because they identify the areas where the customer is most frustrated or dissatisfied with their current solutions, and can provide opportunities for product managers and designers to create more satisfying and meaningful products.

Pain points can be thought of as the “what’s not working” or “what’s missing” aspects of the job. They can be functional, emotional, or social in nature, and might relate to the product itself, the process of using the product, or the overall context in which the product is used. Below is an example of “pain points”

Product: Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software

Job executor: Finance manager

Functional job: Managing financial data, tracking expenses, generating reports

Emotional job: Reducing stress and uncertainty, feeling confident and competent

Social job: Impressing upper management, collaborating with team members

Pain points:

Functional: The current ERP software is not user-friendly or efficient
Emotional: The process of using the current ERP software is stressful and time-consuming
Social: The finance manager feels judged or criticized by upper management for not using the software effectively

In this example, the finance manager is the primary job executor and is trying to get the job of managing financial data, tracking expenses, and generating reports. The ERP software is the product that can help them get this job done, by providing the functional job of managing financial data, tracking expenses, and generating reports. However, the finance manager is also motivated by the emotional job of reducing stress and uncertainty, and the social job of impressing upper management and collaborating with team members. These emotional and social benefits might influence their decision to choose a particular ERP software.

The pain points in this example identify the specific challenges and difficulties that the finance manager is experiencing with their current ERP software, and can provide opportunities for product managers and designers to create a more user-friendly, efficient, and satisfying ERP software experience.
 

Where can the JTBD Framework be used?


The Jobs-to-be-Done (JTBD) framework can be used in a variety of ways in practice, including:

Product development: The JTBD framework can be used to identify the needs and motivations of customers and to design products that are more meaningful and satisfying to use. By understanding the functional, emotional, and social aspects of the job, product managers and designers can create products that not only meet the functional requirements of the job, but also address the deeper needs and desires of the customer.

Market research: The JTBD framework can be used to better understand the market for a product or service, by identifying the jobs that customers are trying to get done, the products and services they are currently using to get those jobs done, and the pain points they are experiencing with those products and services. This information can be used to identify opportunities for new or improved products and services that better meet the needs of customers.

Marketing and positioning: The JTBD framework can be used to position a product or service in the market, by highlighting the unique benefits that it provides for helping customers get their job done. By focusing on the functional, emotional, and social aspects of the job, marketers can create messaging and branding that resonates with customers and differentiates the product from competitors.

Customer service: The JTBD framework can be used to better understand the needs and expectations of customers, and to provide more targeted and effective customer service. By understanding the functional, emotional, and social aspects of the job that the customer is trying to get done, customer service representatives can provide more relevant and helpful assistance, and can identify opportunities to improve the product or service to better meet the needs of customers.
 

What are JTBD best practices?


Here are a few best practices for using the Jobs-to-be-Done (JTBD) framework:

1. Focus on the customer: The JTBD framework is centered on the customer, so it’s important to understand their needs and motivations as deeply as possible. This can involve talking to customers directly, observing them using your product or a competitor’s product, and conducting market research to gather more detailed information about the job they are trying to get done.

2. Identify the job, not the product: The JTBD framework is not about the product itself, but rather the job that the customer is trying to get done. It’s important to focus on the job, rather than the product, in order to understand the functional, emotional, and social aspects of the job and to identify opportunities to create more meaningful and satisfying products.

3. Use customer stories to illustrate the job: One effective way to understand the job that customers are trying to get done is to use customer stories to illustrate the functional, emotional, and social aspects of the job. This can help product managers and designers understand the context in which the job is being done and can provide insight into the needs and motivations of the customer.

4. Test and validate your assumptions: It’s important to test and validate your assumptions about the job that customers are trying to get done, in order to ensure that your product is meeting their needs and desires. This can involve conducting market research, testing prototypes with customers, and gathering feedback from customers during the development process.

5. Iterate and improve: The JTBD framework is not a one-time exercise, but rather a continuous process of iteration and improvement. As you learn more about the job that customers are trying to get done, you can use that knowledge to improve your product and create a more meaningful and satisfying experience for your customers.

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