Jobs-to-be-Done Framework: Part 4

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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.

…Continues from Jobs-to-be-Done Framework: Part 3

Once the job steps have been delineated and success outcomes defined for a particular job, we now have a framework that can be used to capture an exhaustive set of customer needs that defines how well a job gets done in the customer’s mind. That set of needs is the same for ALL individuals and organizations trying to get a particular job done, independent of available solutions and job circumstance. Further, a set of needs is valid for as long as individuals and organizations are trying to execute a particular job—usually a very long time.

Asking customers to prioritize that set of needs for importance and satisfaction defines the value that customers want from solutions to get a particular job done better (value targets). Thus, customer needs are the metrics that customers use to gage how well a job gets done while value targets define the value customers want from solutions to get a job done better. In the customers’ mind, getting a job done better means removing moments of struggle.

Now, recall that all customers want to continually move towards an ideal job process thereby increasing job economy. This means they want to perform job activities in the most efficient and effective way possible to generate expected success outcomes. However, the reality is far from this ideal process most of the time. Job circumstance and the limitations of solutions-in-use cause customers to struggle to get a job done well. Removing those struggles become the customers’ priorities.

The Jobs-to-be-Done Framework provides a fast, reliable and inexpensive way to capture customer needs and to periodically define the value that customers want from solutions (value targets). This is important because customer job priorities change over time. Once customer needs have been captured and prioritized, companies can focus their innovation efforts on producing solutions that satisfy customer needs better than competing solutions.

But before we can determine the value that customers want from solutions, we must first capture an exhaustive set of customer needs for getting a particular job done. The Jobs-to-be-Done Framework makes a distinction between customer needs relating to job action and customer needs relating to desired progress.

Now, customer needs relating to job action are defined as the key outcomes that customers are aiming for as they perform job activities. Recall that the purpose for performing job activities is to accomplish job steps—the logical objectives of job action. These key outcomes define how efficiently each job step is accomplished in the customers’ mind. Stated another way, key outcomes are the customers’ needs with respect to efficient job action.

Take, for example, the job “Obtain product support.” The first job step is to “Determine the kind of support needed.” To accomplish this objective, an individual must perform certain activities to understand the nature of the problem (which may not be obvious). Maybe the individual buys a diagnostic tool OR references the product manual to understand an error code OR contacts an expert or searches YouTube for advice.

Regardless of the nature of these activities, all customers want to minimize the time, effort and resources required to accomplish this job step—determine the support needed. As such, two key outcomes for this job step could be —1) The product indicates the nature of the problem and 2) The nature of the problem is easy to understand. These key outcomes (among others) define how well this particular job step gets done in the customers’ mind.

Now, successful innovation aims to satisfy customer needs better than competing alternatives. The problem is that we need a way to quantify what “better” means from the customer’s perspective. Otherwise, it’s not clear how much better a solution has to be to satisfy those customer needs. Without this knowledge, innovation teams can easily undershoot and overshoot the value that customers want.

The answer to this problem is to structure the key outcomes of job action as directional metrics of value. By expressing these customer needs as either minimizing something or increasing something relating to performing job activities, value is defined along a continuum for each key outcome. By definition then, value is generated by a solution to the extent that it satisfies key outcomes of job action.

By asking customers to rate each key outcome for importance and satisfaction, we can identify the key outcomes that aren’t yet good enough. We can then quantify how much more value customers want from a solution to satisfy those needs (aka: value target analysis).

Key outcomes that are stated as minimize or increase something relating to performing job activities are called customer value metrics, or CVM’s for short; they’re the criteria that determine the customer experience while executing a job using a particular job solution in a particular circumstance.

Simply put, CVMs give us a way to precisely define value from the customer’s perspective. We can then know in advance what value customers want and then focus our innovation efforts on generating that value. This eliminates the ambiguity around customer needs that so often tanks innovation efforts.

One or more CVMs are associated with each job step and they define value in terms of job action efficiency. These are expressed as minimize the amount of time, effort and expense required to accomplish a job step. In fact, most CVMs have to do with minimizing these aspects of performing job activities. For example: “Minimize the time it takes to explain a problem,” and “Minimize the time it takes to find a desired item,” and “Minimize the effort it takes to share information with others” and “Minimize the number of tools required to fix the problem.”

Customer value metrics can also be expressed as minimize or increase the likelihood and frequency of something happening while performing job activities. These have to do with a desire to reduce the variability in activities that increases the time, effort and expense required to accomplish job steps. For example, “Increase the likelihood that instructions are clear,” and “Minimize the likelihood that an appointment is missed,” and “Minimize the frequency of interruptions.”

Finally, customer value metrics can be expressed as minimize or increase the level, number or amount of something while performing job activities. By doing so, customers can decrease the time, effort and resources required to accomplish job steps.

For example, “Increase the level of sound as ambient noise gets louder” and “Increase the number of interactions during an event,” and “Minimize the number of cuts that have to be made,” and “Minimize the amount of product lost during transfer.” Generally speaking, more than 70% of CVMs have to do with minimizing some aspect of job activities while less than 30% have to do with increasing something.

Now, let’s go back to our earlier job example — Obtain product support. There are five logical job steps that must be accomplished to successfully execute this job.

Job Step 1 is—Determine the support needed. One CVM for this step might be, “Minimize the effort it takes to understand the issue with the product.”

Job Step 2 is—Locate support contact info. One CVM for this step might be, “Minimize the time it takes to search for support contact information.”

Job Step 3 is—Gather support information. One CVM for this step might be, “Minimize the amount of information required to obtain support.”

Job Step 4 is—Obtain product support. One CVM this step might be “Minimize the number of tools required to fix the problem.”

Job Step 5 is—Verify issue is resolved. One CVM for this step might be, “Increase the likelihood of knowing how to verify the issue is resolved.”

It should be noted that it’s not uncommon to capture 2 to 5 customer value metrics for each job step. Depending on the complexity of the job, between 50 and 150 customer value metrics are generally captured for that job.

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