- What is Jobs-To-Be-Done? (Definition)
- Free Online Articles and Resources
- Books about Jobs-To-Be-Done
- JTBD Masterclasses by BoS
If you’re running a software company (or somehow involved in strategy) you’ll be familiar with the conversations and debates about what the “next killer feature (or product)” is going to be.
While there are very few silver bullets in life, the Jobs-To-Be-Done framework is an indispensable tool in answering those kinds of questions.
The reason is that the JTBD framework (used and applied correctly) helps entrepreneurs, designers, and engineers clearly understand what “job” customers are trying to accomplish. This in turn helps you create products (or features or marketing campaigns) that resonate with customers and align with their goals.
1. What is Jobs-To-Be-Done? (Definition)
“Jobs To Be Done” (or JTBD) is a framework, or mental model, designed by Bob Moesta and Clayton Christensen to help better understand customer behaviour. The premise behind JTBD is that focusing on market “features” like demographics, spending habits, and other traditional marketing approaches is not enough to generate regular innovation or growth. This kind of insight is too superficial for meaningful or disruptive innovation.
What is instead needed is understanding customer behaviour in the context of emotional, organisational, and societal drivers within which it takes place. This allows you — the entrepreneur or innovator — to truly understand the “job” that the customer is attempting to get “done” in a particular situation.
The simplest and most concise definition we’ve come across is, unsurprisingly, from the Christensen Institute itself:
People don’t simply buy products or services, they ‘hire’ them to make progress in specific circumstances.Source: https://www.christenseninstitute.org/jobs-to-be-done/
The idea that customers are “hiring” your product may seem odd at first, but a moment’s analysis will quickly reveal this to be true for a many everyday objects. The classic, and possibly overused, example is about drills: a customer buying a drill doesn’t want a drill; they want a hole in their wall. The job of the hole may be to hang a picture or install a shelf; thus making the goal to enjoy a photograph or to gain more storage.
A famous and practical example you’ll hear about in many JTBD talks and books is the “Milkshakes for Breakfast” case study. In the process of doing customer research to find ways of selling more milkshakes, a fast-food chain discovered the following:
After conducting in-depth interviews, the team discovered that customers were buying milkshakes for breakfast during their morning commute. Instead of caring about thickness or flavor, customers were actually drawn to the fact that it was relatively tidy and could stave off hunger until lunch.Source: https://www.christenseninstitute.org/jobs-to-be-done/
By understanding the job the milkshake was being hired for in this situation it became easier for the company to speak directly to their customers’ needs.
2. Free Online Articles and Resources
To get you started with JTBD we’ve compiled a list of free and easily-digestable introductory materials you can read, watch, or listen to.
- An Introduction to Jobs to be Done (JTBD) by Joe Leech
- Clay Christensen’s Jobs To Be Done Innovation Theory by Denise Lee Yohn for Forbes.
- Why Is It Called “Jobs to be Done”? (And Why Is This Important?) by Alan Klement
- Know Your Customers’ “Jobs to Be Done” by Clayton M. Christensen for HBR
- Personas vs. Jobs To Be Done by Page Laubheimer for Nielsen
Get more great resources at jobstobedone.org.
- #JTBD Radio by Bob Moesta and Chris Spiek
- Revisiting “Jobs To Be Done” with Clayton Christensen from HBR IdeaCast
- Founder’s Journal episode on Jobs to be Done by Alex Lieberman
- Startupification episode on Jobs to be Done by Steven Drost and Matt Farrugia
- The Job your Product Does, by Prof. Clayton Christensen
- Product Strategy: Revisited, by Des Traynor
- Jobs, Pains and Gains & Designing Better Value Propositions by Alex Osterwalder
- Customer Centred Innovation, by Tony Ulwick
- For the most up to date JTBD news, follow Bob Moesta on LinkedIn. He loves to connect with smart folk interested in JTBD and is always happy to welcome you to the conversation
3. Books about Jobs-To-Be-Done
The books we’re listing here provide a good balance and understanding of both the theory and the practical applications of the Jobs-To-Be-Done framework.
You will find Jobs To Be Done written and talked about in many other business and innovation books. Some with a specific focus like user experience, product design, sales, or product management. The titles below however will serve any discipline and are full of real-life examples and case studies from a variety of markets and companies.
- Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice by Clayton M. Christensen, et al.
- Intercom on Jobs‑to‑be‑Done by Des Traynor
- Jobs to Be Done: A Roadmap for Customer-Centered Innovation by Stephen Wunker, Jessica Wattman, and David Farber
- The Jobs To Be Done Playbook by Jim Kalbach and Michael Schrage
- The Jobs-to-be-Done Handbook: Practical techniques for improving your application of Jobs-to-be-Done by Chris Spiek and Bob Moesta (or get the cheaper and short 30-minute Summary version by the same authors).
4. JTBD Masterclasses by BoS
Having seen first-hand the value of JTBD to many companies in our community we are big fans of this approach. This year we’ve teamed up with Bob Moesta, a pioneer of Jobs-to-be-Done theory, on delivering a series of masterclasses on applying JTBD to various business functions.
Coming up in July we’ve got Demand-Side Sales with JTBD — a masterclass in two parts that will help you learn what your customers see and hear when they try to hire your product, and how you can help them make progress through to purchase.
Subscribe to BoS to hear about new JTBD masterclasses coming up.
Get your Fall BoS Conference Ticket
27 - 29 September 2021, Online
BoS Conferences are the events professional CEOs and serious founders attend to learn how to build, run, and scale successful software companies.
First batch of speakers and sessions have been announced. Attendance is limited to 300 spots.