Jobs-to-be-Done Framework: Part 1

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.

Now, recall that two schools of thought emerged for practicing jobs to be done. One approach defines a customer job as an executable process. The other approach defines a job as the progress that customers are trying to make under a particular set of circumstances. Combining these two approaches forms the Jobs-to-be-Done Framework, a well-structured, rigorous, and practical methodology that incorporates the advantages of both schools.

The rationale for the Jobs-to-be-Done Framework is straightforward — individuals and organizations must execute a job process to make progress because it’s simply not possible to achieve any kind of results without taking action—either direct action or action in concert with a third-party service provider.

To make this combined approach more actionable as a methodology, we describe the execution of a job process in terms of job action and describe desired progress in terms of success outcomes. Going forward, we’ll use this basic job structure as a starting point to drill down into each side of the Jobs-to-be-Done Framework starting with success outcomes.

People and organizations make progress to the extent they’re able to take the necessary job action to generate success outcomes, which are both the results they want to happen and the results they’re trying to avoid. Although it may seem odd that success can be thought of in terms of something not happening, individuals buy insurance policies, home security systems, computer virus software, among other solutions expressly to avoid unwanted results. Success in these cases occurs to the extent that unwanted results are avoided.

Now, let’s describe in more detail what is meant by “progress.” For any job, there are potentially three dimensions of progress that individuals and organizations want to make when they execute a job—functional success outcomes, emotional success outcomes and social success outcomes.

Functional success outcomes are real occurrences that job executors want to happen as well as occurrences they want to avoid. For example, say that the job is to “lose weight.” For this job, the primary functional success outcome desired is weight loss. But an individual may also want additional functional success outcomes such as increased energy, lowered cholesterol, and improved muscle tone.

Emotional success outcomes are emotional states that individuals want to maintain and those emotional states they want to avoid. Simply put, these goals have to do with how individuals want to feel and how they don’t want to feel. For example, emotional success outcomes wanted for the job “lose weight” could be, “I feel more confident” and “I feel more empowered” and “I worry less about my health,” a negative emotional state that many want to avoid.

Social success outcomes are results of job action that have to do with how individuals want others to perceive them and the social perceptions they want to avoid. For example, social success outcomes wanted for the job “lose weight” could be, “I’m more attractive to others” and “I look more youthful to my colleagues” and “I’m not viewed as lazy,” a negative social perception that individuals want to avoid.

In another example, say the job is to “Monitor my credit report.” The desired goal or result is to maintain an accurate credit profile —a functional success outcome. Additional job action will be required to remove or revise erroneous information on a credit report. For many, there are emotional and social success outcomes associated with maintaining an accurate credit profile.

It’s important to note that emotional and social success outcomes are dependent on functional success outcomes for effect. That is, they’re satisfied to the extent that one or more functional success outcomes are achieved. For the job “lose weight,” if an individual doesn’t actually lose weight, then he/she can’t really satisfy their emotional and social needs because these success outcomes depend on actual weight loss.

Now, there are times when only functional success outcomes are desired —such as the case with most organizational jobs. But the jobs that individuals are trying to get done in their personal lives will often involve emotional and social dimensions as well, which is why customer jobs can get quite complex.

For many jobs, emotional and social success outcomes can have a higher priority than functional success outcomes. For instance, say that the job is to “care for my child when I’m at work.” For an individual trying to get this job done, it‘s very important that he/she feel their child is safe and nurtured during the day. He/she doesn’t want to worry about the welfare of their child when they’re at work. For these individuals, the satisfaction of emotional success outcomes will weigh very heavily in their evaluation of job solutions.

Certain success outcomes can predict the satisfaction of other success outcomes. For instance, being perceived by your boss as a valuable employee can cause you to feel self-confident. Feeling that you’re knowledgeable about a particular subject can cause others to perceive you as an expert in that subject. By identifying these predictive connections, companies can design job solutions that can satisfy related success outcomes, thereby increasing the perceived value of those solutions.

Job Solutions

People and organizations use job solutions to help them execute jobs. To put a finer point on it, a job solution is any resource or combination of resources that enables individuals and organizations to execute an entire job or part of a job. Job solutions are either provider solutions or non-provider solutions.

Provider solutions integrate resources in such a way that gives a product or service the capability to execute a job for customers and/or enables customers to execute a job themselves.

For instance, an online service provider combines intellectual property, coded applications and Websites, content, data and information, human resources, facilities, equipment and machines, knowledge of a particular domain, financial resources, partner resources, relationship resources, brand resources, and other resources to create a solution that enables some or all of the job action required to generate wanted success outcomes.

Individuals and organizations often cobble together a number of resources to make their own job solutions, which is why these are called non-provider solutions (aka: do it yourself solutions or DIY). Although some/all of the resources used may be obtained from companies, those resources must be cobbled together to create a solution that enables a job to get done.  Just like providers combine resources to create products and services, customers act as their own provider when they combine resources to create job solutions.

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