Jobs to be Done

Skill theme: 
Structured Modeling
Structured Modeling

You are trying to help the team solve for the root of what people need. Coming out of well-crafted Study Plan and Interview Protocol, sets of User Interview lets you learn from real experience. Model the driving needs behind user behavior, working from Well-Managed Data and Sensemaking Workshop.

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The challenge

What people need is not obvious or easy to understand. Self-report is unreliable and layers of nested needs make it hard to pin down what we’re designing for. It is easier, and less helpful, to understand what people do compared to what they are trying to get done. 

This lack of clarity clouds our ability to be razor focused on the needs we seek to address. And even if this clarity is achieved at a certain point of time, focus drifts towards solution-centricity the more energy teams expend on solving for those needs. The team may think they know what those needs are, when in fact, they lose sight of core needs as soon as solutions come into play.

Theodore Levitt has a well-trodden quote used in Jobs to be Done literature, “people do not want a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter inch hole.” It quickly points to another challenge, the problem of scope and scale in user needs: what do they want a quarter inch hole for?

The approach

Consider the “size” of behaviors the team is equipped to ask on, and which strategic layer of needs you’re investigating. In making sense of the data, look for unmet goals, constraints, catalysts, and alternative choices, working with these as input to define the (Alan Klement-style) Job to be Done.

Therefore, isolate the “job” customers are hiring products and services for. Recognize the nested and interconnected layers of goals and needs—jobs—and explicitly choose the most suitable job framing for the team or organization’s needs. Identify the context and situation that are most relevant, the user’s desired outcome, and how they want to feel about accomplishing it. Encapsulate it in an easily-shared and straightforward job model, indicating interesting tensions and areas of opportunity.

If necessary, indicate connections to higher order and lower order (component) jobs. Prioritize clarity of job over full-coverage of the hiring landscape. Work with a small and focused set of jobs to carry work forward, continually re-incorporating and re-communicating the job that is being solved for.

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Effective Reporting is the first step of the larger work of User Needs Inception. Use well-modeled jobs for Research-Driven Design Project, to develop Product & Design Strategy, or create the space for follow-up work in Product Roadmap. Teach the team about the process and how they can use the tool as a part of Research Evangelization.

Last updated:
Apr 28, 2020 19:25


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