Jobs-to-be-Done Framework: Part 6

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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 5

Because customer value metrics (CVMs) remain the same, even as science and technology, design and business models change, they provide a stable focal point for defining the value that customers want from solutions over time. With these metrics in hand, it becomes easier to recognize opportunities to help customers get jobs done better.

Further, innovation teams can quickly and efficiently exploit the best of those opportunities to create new solutions and enhance existing solutions that move customers closer to the ideal job process. With this capability, a company can consistently offer products and services that satisfy customer needs better than competing solutions.

Pursuant to this, the first step is to interview a number of individuals to capture an exhaustive set of customer value metrics for a given job and then organize those CVMs in a spreadsheet or database. Generally, you can expect to capture 50 to 150 customer value metrics for any given job. Once captured, these CVMs will remain valid as long as the job exists. Job solutions come and go, but the job itself remains the same.

Now, a set of CVMs for a particular job will be the same for ALL customers trying to execute that job. However, customers are often trying to execute the same job under different circumstances and they’re using different solutions. Job circumstance and the limitations of solutions-in-use can cause customers to struggle in different ways to get the same job done. For this reason, customers will prioritize a set of needs for a particular job differently based on the nature of their struggles. Different job priorities will affect the value customers want from solutions to get that job done better.

To prioritize a set of customer value metrics for a given job, customers are asked to rate how important each customer value metric is to them and how well that particular CVM is currently satisfied. Importance and satisfaction ratings for all CVMs are then analyzed resulting in a set of value targets that fall into one of four categories — undershot value targets, overshot value targets, must-be value targets, and indifferent value. Customers that prioritize a set of CVMs in a similar way define a unique customer segment.

Undershot value targets are the CVMs that have been rated by a vast majority of customers as very important and very unsatisfied. Undershot value targets indicate job action steps that require too much time, effort, and expense to perform and success outcomes that fall short of expectations. These CVMs are the customers’ priorities and indicate the additional value that those customers want from solutions to get a job done better.

Overshot value targets are CVMs that have been rated by a vast majority of customers as having little importance and are over satisfied by available solutions. Solutions often become bloated with features and benefits that customers don’t value. That because beyond a certain point, that additional value ceases to have any utility with respect to getting a job done well. Scaling back on these CVMs lowers the cost structure of a solution, thereby increasing the profit margin. Optionally, the selling price can be lowered to stimulate additional demand without sacrificing profit margin.

Must-be value targets are the CVMs that have been rated by a vast majority of customers as important and appropriately satisfied. As the name suggests, these dimensions of value are the table stakes that must be met to remain viable in a solution market. That is, customers expect that all job solutions will satisfy these needs at current levels. Solutions that don’t meet these expectations will be devalued by customers. Therefore, the appropriate action is to maintain current satisfaction levels for these CVMs at the least possible cost.

Indifferent customer value metrics (aka: indifferent value) have been rated by a vast majority of customers as having very low importance and very low satisfaction. This indicates that customers aren’t sure of or haven’t considered before how the satisfaction of those needs can help them get a job done better. The appropriate action is to either discover a way to increase the importance of these CVMs or minimize the cost associated with these CVMs until a way can be found to increase their importance.

Now, before value targets are actionable for innovation and cost reduction, two numbers are needed for each—a current value and a desired value. A current value quantifies the performance of a CVM as it is today for a given solution and/or job circumstance.  A desired value quantifies where customers want a CVM to be to help them get a job done better without overshooting the satisfaction of that need. For CVMs where there’s a difference between the current value and the desired value, it’s the job of innovation teams to figure out how to best close that gap.

For example, say that a CVM is to “Minimize the time it takes to find a desired item.” It has been determined that the average search time is 22 minutes (the current value) which represents a moment of struggle for customers. According these customers, a 10-minute search time (the desired value) would remove this struggle as a priority, at least for now. However, the aim should be to reduce the search time even more if feasible.

Say another CVM is to “Increase the likelihood that instructions are clear.” It has been determined that instructions are clear about 62% of the time (the current value) which represents a moment of struggle for customers. According to these customers, instructions that are clear at least 85% of the time (the desired value) would remove this struggle as a priority—at least for now. However, the aim should be to make instructions clear 100% of the time if feasible.

Say that a functional success outcome for certain individuals attending a professional workshop is to “Improve my job performance.” However, only 38% of attendees report that they’re able to perform their job better after the workshop (the current value) and this represents a big moment of struggle for these professionals and all future attendees. Given the variance in the capabilities and motivations of attendees, professionals indicate that 74% is the desired value for this CVM, at least for now. However, the aim should be to design the workshop such that all attendees will be able to improve their job performance if feasible.

To summarize, customer needs for any job are defined as the key outcomes customers want as they perform the job activities required to accomplish job steps AND the success outcomes they’re aiming for after a job is successfully executed. Customer need statements are then structured as directional metrics of value and concise goal statements, defining a complete set of customer value metrics (CVMs) for a particular job. That set of CVMs is stable over time even as solutions come and go.

When customers prioritize a set of CVMs for importance and satisfaction, those CVMs fall into four categories—undershot, must-be, overshot and indifferent—which become value targets. Current values and desired values are then defined for each value target making them actionable for innovation and cost reduction. In this way, customer needs are converted into value targets that precisely indicate the value that customers want from solutions to get a job done better.

With an exhaustive set of value targets in hand, companies have a spec for creating solutions that customers want BEFORE they actually develop those solutions. They can then use their resources efficiently to create new products and services that help customers get jobs done better than competing solutions at the lowest possible cost to a company.

Because customer priorities can shift over time as job circumstance and the performance of solutions-in-use change, value targets are adjusted as needed to keep existing solutions positioned as the best value. Lastly, value targets guide innovation teams to identify the best combination of technology, design methods and business models at any given time that can satisfy customer needs better than competing solutions at the lowest possible cost.

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