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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.

Recall that progress is often defined as a diverse set of success outcomes that can’t be generated by executing a single prime job. These are high-level jobs and they get done by “stacking” multiple related jobs. This is called Job stacking behavior and it involves orchestrating related jobs to get a high-level job done well. To put a finer point in it, orchestration involves arranging and coordinating related jobs in the best way possible to efficiently and effectively satisfy a diverse set of outcomes.

First, customers are trying to arrange related jobs that are collectively capable of satisfying a diverse set of needs for a high-level job. Some job arrangements are more capable or effective than others. In essence, customers are trying to determine the best job stacking strategy under a particular set of circumstances. However, customers often struggle to effectively arrange jobs due to circumstance and the limitations of solutions-in-use.

Second, customers are trying to minimize the time, effort and costs to coordinate related jobs. Even if related jobs are executed well, coordinating those jobs requires additional activities between job execution. So, getting a high-level job done efficiently not only means efficiently executing related jobs, but also efficiently coordinating those jobs. However, customers often struggle to efficiently coordinate related jobs due to circumstance and the limitations of solutions-in-use.

To re-iterate, circumstance and the limitations of solutions-in-use can cause customers to struggle to both effectively arrange and to efficiently coordinate related jobs to get a high-level job done well. We’ll discuss in detail how this can happen in the next post.

Now, the structure and dynamics of job orchestration can be represented as a job stack, which delineates how related jobs are arranged and coordinated to get a high-level job done. At the top of a job stack is a single high-level job. The related jobs that are stacked for the purpose of getting that job done are shown below.

Recall that a job stack can consist of both prime jobs and high-level jobs, which means that any job stack can have a number of tiers within it. The job stack which is the main focus of attention is called the “master job stack” and it contains all the job stack tiers within it. Stated another way, job stacks can be embedded within job stacks. The number of job stack tiers depends on the complexity of a high-level job. Keep in mind that the master job stack is just a relative term that bounds a job stack for analytical purpose – that is, where a high-level job starts and where it ends. But, a master job stack could be a related high-level job within another high-level job.

Now, every high-level job has a high-level outcome made possible by related outcomes. The execution of related prime and/or high-level jobs generate functional outcomes that produce three kinds of high-level outcomes.

First, a high-level outcome can be a simple combination of related outcomes. Say an individual wants a “clean house,” which is a high-level outcome. One job stack could consist of three related jobs, namely “Clean a floor,” “Clean a bathroom” and a “Clean a kitchen.” When these jobs are done, the related outcomes combine or roll-up, if you will, to produce a clean house. That is, for some, a clean house equals a clean floor, a clean bathroom and a clean kitchen.  For this reason, jobs like, “Clean a house” and “Perform yardwork” are called combination high-level jobs.

Second, related outcomes can cause someone or something to transition from one situation to another situation over a period of time. For example, say certain individuals want a “Higher credit score,” which is a high-level outcome. They arrange a job stack that generates the related outcomes, “Bills are paid on time” and “Credit card debt is reduced.” Over time these related outcomes cause an individual’s credit score to transition from poor to good. For this reason, jobs like “improve credit score” and “Sell a house” are called transitional high-level jobs.

Third, related outcomes can cause someone or something to transform in some way. For example, say certain individuals want “a nice smile,” which is a high-level outcome. The challenge is effectively stacking related jobs that will enable these individuals to make that progress. An individual hires a dentist, who then orchestrates a job stack on behalf of the patient. Executing those related jobs generates the related outcomes, “Bad teeth are removed,” and “Gums are improved” and “Teeth are replaced,” among others. These related outcomes transform the individual’s smile from poor to good, which is why this is called a transformative high-level job.

To put a finer point on it, transformative high-level jobs change the characteristics of someone or something in some way. Transitional high-level jobs, on the other hand, change a situation over time. These distinctions are important when defining customer needs for a high-level job, which is discussed in the next post.

Now, it’s worth emphasizing that the reason customers want to get high-level jobs done in the first place is that they desire to make the kind of progress that can only be achieved by orchestrating multiple related jobs. Customers commonly express their desire to get high-level jobs done when they say things like, “I want to take a vacation,” or “I want to publish a book,” or “I want to promote a Webinar,” or “I want to produce a video,” or “I want obtain educational credentials,” to mention a few. With that progress in mind, they set out to orchestrate related jobs the best way they can to generate a diverse set of success outcomes required to make that progress.

Although customers want to get high-level jobs done well, circumstance and the limitations of solutions-in-use can cause them to struggle. Mapping high-level jobs enables innovators to quickly understand these struggles from the customers’ perspective. With this insight, innovators can identify lucrative opportunities to create new offerings and enhance existing products and services that enable customers to get multiple related jobs done on a single service platform. These are called job stack solutions and they increase job economy by enabling customers to get high-level jobs done better, faster and cheaper. We’ll delve into job stack solutions in the next post.

To put things into perspective, job execution and job stacking are complementary aspects of the Job-to-be-Done framework. Job execution involves taking efficient and effective action to satisfy wanted success outcomes. Job stacking involves orchestrating multiple related jobs in such a way as to minimize the time, effort and expense required to satisfy a diverse set of success outcomes for a high-level job. Both aspects give innovators a kind of “stereo vision,” if you will, for quickly identifying a wide range of lucrative opportunities.

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