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This post discusses a specific aspect of Jobs to be Done. If you haven’t already done so, we suggest starting with the post—What is Jobs To Be Done. This will give you a broad overview of JTBD concepts with links to other posts that take a deeper dive into those concepts.

Individuals and organizations seldom execute a particular job just once to make progress. Most of the time they’re executing the same or similar jobs over and over again. In this post, we explain why this is the case from a Jobs Theory perspective.

Consider the prime job “Send a parcel.” For many, the wanted success outcomes are “The parcel is delivered on time,” “The parcel is not stolen,” and “The parcel is not lost,” among others. Assuming the solution-in-use enables capable job action, then executing this job a single time can satisfy those needs. However, if the parcel is lost in transit (which is an occurrence), then the job will likely be executed again. So, for this job, a single execution cycle will be triggered every time the need arises to send a parcel, which is why this is called reoccurring job execution.

As implied, reoccurring job execution is often triggered by a repeating occurrence, which is a kind of circumstance. For example, the job “Perform yard-work,” is triggered every time the growth of a yard reaches a certain point (an occurrence). The job, “Complete an assignment” is triggered every time an assignment is given, which is an occurrence. The job “Repair a car” is triggered every time a car breaks down (also an occurrence). As long as yards continue to grow, assignments are given, and cars continue to break down, these same or similar jobs will be executed time and time again.

Now consider the high-level job “Improve cardio conditioning.” Say an individual wants to transition from a resting heart rate of 90 BPM to a resting heart rate of 70 BPM, which is the wanted high-level outcome. Further, say the job stack for this high-level job consists of a single related prime job — “Run for cardio fitness.” Regardless of the efficacy of a solution-in-use, the individual will have to continually execute the job “Run for fitness” over a period of time to satisfy the high-level outcome. Of course, this doesn’t mean that the individual must run continuously without pause. Rather, the job is executed periodically a number of times until the resting heart rate of 70 is achieved, which is why this is called continual job execution.

It should be emphasized that in the case of high-level jobs that involve executing multiple related jobs, it’s the diverse set of related outcomes that collectively satisfy high-level outcomes, not any single related outcome. Some related jobs may have to be continually executed a number of times to generate a capable set of related outcomes.

For example, individuals who want to “Reduce body weight” are continually trying to execute related jobs, like “Monitor calories consumed,” “Perform weight-loss exercise,” and “Prepare a nutritious meal.” Each of these related jobs is continually executed to generate a set of related outcomes that is capable of transitioning them to a desired body weight.

Now, even though many individuals want to get the high-level job “Improve cardio conditioning” done well, circumstance can impede them from doing so, such as the lack of time, lack of motivation, where they live or work, and safety concerns, to mention a few. Additionally, the limitations of solutions-in-use can also impede wanted progress. For example, using a pull-up bar and a sit up bench won’t significantly improve cardio conditioning because these solutions are primarily designed to improve muscle tone.

An individual who’s trying to “Run for cardio fitness” via a public park (a solution-in-use) will typically have to execute this related prime job 3 times a week (which is the number of job execution cycles) for about 40 minutes per run (which is the job execution cycle time) over a period of 6 months to satisfy the high-level outcome (which is the satisfaction lead time). Job execution cycles, job execution cycle time and satisfaction lead time are the three aspects of what is called the job cycle performance of any solution.

Now, some providers recognized that a particular group of individuals share a common set of circumstances that cause them to struggle to “Improve cardio conditioning.” To remove those struggles, they created elliptical-type cardio machines designed around the science of high intensity interval training. One of these solutions, call it the Acme SuperTrainer, offers an intense 14-minute cardio workout that’s roughly equivalent to a 40-minute run.

Comparing the job cycle performance of the SuperTrainer with that of the public park solution, the SuperTrainer reduces the job execution cycle time from 40 minutes to 14 minutes, increases the job execution cycles from 3 times per week to 5 times per week and decreases the satisfaction lead time from 6 months to 5 months.

Although the SuperTrainer solution increases job execution cycles, it significantly reduces the job execution cycle time and the satisfaction lead time compared to running in the park. This is an attractive job cycle performance for individuals who are very busy, time constrained and impatient for progress. For these particular individuals, the SuperTrainer enables them to execute the job, “Improve cardio conditioning” better than running in a public park.

Recall that circumstances can be different even among individuals trying to satisfy the same high-level outcome. This means that solutions with a unique job cycle performance may be required to attract those customers, which often involve performance, cost structure and price trade-offs. For instance, individuals who aren’t time constrained, travel to a gym and who are patient for progress may prefer longer and less intense workouts. An attractive job cycle performance for these individuals might be a longer job execution cycle time, fewer job execution cycles, and a longer satisfaction lead-time.

Now, a high-level job gets done well to the extent that related prime jobs are efficiently and effectively executed, and all related jobs are effectively arranged, and efficiency coordinated. The extent to which a solution can do this is called job solution efficacy. Job execution cycles, job execution cycle time, and satisfaction lead time are all a product of job solution efficacy. Therefore, job solution efficacy determines the job cycle performance possibilities for any solution.

Now consider three high-level jobs. Individuals who want to “Maintain a secure home” are trying to continually execute the related jobs, “Authenticate access to a home,” “Monitor activity around a home,” and “Lock windows, doors and gates.” Organizations that want to “Maintain customer support” are trying to continually execute the related jobs, “Monitor customer feedback,” “Resolve a customer problem,” and “Answer a customer question.” Individuals and organizations who want to “Secure digital files” are trying to continually execute the related jobs, “Back-up digital files,” “Authenticate user access to digital files,” and “Prevent malware access to digital files.”

The wanted high-level outcomes are, “A home is secure,” “Customers are supported,” and “Digital files are secure,” all of which are continuous in nature which is why they’re called continuous outcomes or continuous progress. That is, to a greater or lesser extent, a home is either secure or it’s not, customers are supported or they’re not, and digital files are secure or they’re not.

Continuous progress is not about combining related outcomes, transitioning or transforming someone or something, but rather maintaining desired states, situations and conditions. Keep in mind that continuous progress can be the avoidance of potential hazards. Therefore, it’s more appropriate to say that these kinds of jobs are “getting done” at any given time to the extent that related jobs in those stacks are continually well executed.

To recap, people and organizations are most often executing the same or similar jobs over and over again for two reasons. The first reason is reoccurring job execution. Prime jobs and combination high-level jobs are repeatedly triggered by occurrences. Prime jobs and related prime jobs move through a single execution cycle each time to generate wanted success outcomes.

The second reason is continual job execution. Many related jobs in high-level job stacks must be continually executed to satisfy high-level outcomes that involve transforming or transitioning someone or something over time. Other related jobs must be continually executed to make continuous progress; that is, to maintain wanted states, situations and conditions.

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