Deep Dive: JTBD

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In this deep dive debut, we’re looking at Jobs-to-be-Done (JTBD).

Jobs-to-be-Done is a powerful framework to help you understand why your customers use your product or service. JTBD theory focuses on understanding why a customer “hires” a product or service by discovering the “job” they’re looking to complete.

Famously, you don’t purchase a 1/4 inch drill bit because you want a 1/4 inch drill bit – you buy it because you want a 1/4 inch hole. Understanding the needs and motivations of a customer is key to understanding how you can serve them better.

This BoS Deep Dive helps you understand and apply the JTBD framework in your business. Keep scrolling to find:

  • A curated Playlist of 5 BoS Talks on JTBD
  • 2 articles explaining different approaches to JTBD
  • 2 podcast episodes about applying JTBD to product
  • 2 books that would give you a deeper understanding
  • And 2 bonus BoS Talks on applying JTBD to the sales process


Top talks from BoS Conferences curated just for you

5 BoS Talks on JTBD

5 talks recorded live at BoS Conferences from JTBD masters Clayton Christensen, Tony Ulwick, Claire Suellentrop, and a double act from Bob Moesta & Chris Spiek who live interview an attendee to demonstrate how you interview customers to really understand what moves them.

Start watching JTBD talks given at BoS


articles from around the web

3 Perspectives

1 – Know The Two Very Different Interpretations Of JTBD (19 min read)
Read more about the two main interpretations of JTBD:

  • Jobs-As-Progress: a theory that is promoted by Clayton Christensen, Bob Moesta, and Alan Klement
  • Jobs-As-Activities: an ideology and typology promoted by Anthony Ulwick and licensees of his patented Outcome Driven Innovation

2 – JTBD: An Occasionally Useful UX Gimmick (15 min read)

Jared Spool goes into the ideology of JTBD as actions; for example firing a website and hiring a mobile app for the same task within the same business.


Books to delve further into the topic

Reading List

Intercom on Jobs to be Done by Des Traynor
You’ve read the theory, now read how Intercom use JTBD inside their company. Full of useful examples and stories of how JTBD is practically employed by Des and the team at Intercom.

Competing Against Luck by Clayton Christensen
Clayton Christensen was a brilliant academic, speaker, and author. In ‘Competing Against Luck’, Clay lays out why trying to understand your customer will not provide the seed for innovation – you need to understand the job they ‘hire’ your product to do.


Some listening to help you on your way

Podcast Recommendations

JTBD for User Onboarding with Ramli John (42 min listen)
Podcast: Better Done Than Perfect’s Jane Portman chats with growth marketer Ramli John about his user onboarding framework ‘EUREKA’ which is based on JTBD.

Adding Jobs-to-be-Done To A Persona-Based Product Development Process (39 min listen)

Podcast: Jobs-to-be-Done Radio
Chris Spiek and Bob Moesta conduct a fascinating interview with Claire Menke (Senior Manager of UX Research, Udemy) about reconciling new JTBD research with already existing Personas. If you enjoy this episode, be sure to dig into the podcast’s back catalogue – there is plenty to get stuck in to.


Extra credit

EXTRA CREDIT: Tangential Talks

Demand-Side Sales 101 – Bob Moesta
Bob Moesta talks about how to help people to buy, without selling. He takes us through the six steps of a customers journey from ‘first thought’ to ‘on-going use and building habits’. Knowing this journey can help you to position your product differently and help your customers buy.

Stop Selling Your Product, Start Selling Point Of View – April Dunford
April Dunford is going to teach you the difference between selling and helping customers buy. She will show you the different types of pitches to use and the pros & cons of each, and why Point of View pitches work so well

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