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Comprehensive Overview of Jobs-to-be-Done Framework

July 3, 2024

Whether you're in product development, marketing, or customer experience, knowing what drives your customers significantly improves your offerings and set you apart from the competition. The Jobs-to-Be-Done (JTBD) framework provides a systematic approach to understanding the underlying needs and desired outcomes for which customers “hire” a product or service to accomplish specific tasks or goals. It shifts the focus from the product itself to the customer’s true objectives and the value they seek.

In this guide, we explore the core components of the JTBD framework and practical approaches to applying it to user research, articulating the jobs and desired outcomes effectively to leverage insights and drive innovation and strategic decision-making within your company. Whether you're a seasoned researcher or a newcomer to the field, integrating JTBD into your toolkit will provide a richer, more actionable understanding of your users and their needs.

TL;DR

At its core, the Jobs-to-be-Done (JTBD) Framework postulates that people "hire" products or services to accomplish specific tasks or "jobs." By focusing on these jobs, businesses can better comprehend what customers are trying to achieve and, more importantly, why.

Jobs-to-be-Done should be seen more as a mindset than a systematic framework. It’s a way of thinking that orients your mindset on customers, jobs, and desired outcomes. This mindset should be embraced by the entire team to prioritize customer needs and establish common understanding of the target audience.

  • Customers hire and pay solutions to execute a job.
  • Customers get the job done for a specific desired outcome.
  • Competitors are different alternatives and solutions that help customers accomplish a job.
  • Customers don’t care much about the type of tools, feature, or specs of the solutions as long as they get their jobs done.
  • User needs are articulated as desired outcomes that help measure the success of getting each job done.
  • Lastly, using the JTBD framework, innovation becomes more predictable.

Implement JTBD with Hubble

Identify the underlying needs, jobs-to-be-done, and desired outcomes of your customers with Hubble

A brief history on the JTBD Framework

To understand how the contemporary approach to the Jobs-to-be-Done framework developed, it is important to recognize the contributions from marketing and Human Computer Interaction that have shaped what is now known as the JTBD framework.

Don Norman, a leader in the field of HCI and one of the founders of Nielsen Norman Group, mentions the concept of Root Cause Analysis in his book The Design of Everyday Things. Root cause analysis essentially involves recognizing the true goals behind a user’s superficial or intermediate goals. He also suggests emotion as an important factor for how users assign value to a product.

Theodore Levitt, Harvard Business School’s marketing professor, adds that “people don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole!”

Buying a drill is only an intermediary step toward the true goal of hanging a picture on the wall and, ultimately, decorating and making the house look more attractive.

“People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole!”

Theodore Levitt
Marketing professor at Harvard Business School

Clayton Christensen, a professor at Harvard Business School, first coined the term, while Anthony Ulwick further developed the concept with his work in Outcome-Driven Innovation (ODI).

Clayton Christensen suggests that many innovations in companies are either a hit-or-miss despite the trend in big data and talent driving efforts to understand users. The fault lies in capturing correlations in demographic information without identifying proper causation.

For example, consider a hypothetical college student in his early 20s who is single, studying computer science, and looking for an internship. His family lives a few hours away. He decides to travel Europe for the spring break.

While there are various ways to characterize him, none of these demographic factors explain why he chose to travel abroad during spring break. Demographic information can be used to infer some of his motives behind his trip, but we cannot be certain. He may want to…

  • Take a break from the intense school workload
  • Look for internship opportunities abroad and explore the area
  • Or attend his favorite artist’s concert or show

There could be many attributes and factors weighing in to his decision to travel, but demographic information alone is insufficient to understand his true motives and needs to travel abroad.

Unlike traditional approaches, which often segment users by age, gender, or income levels, JTBD zeroes in on the functional, emotional, and social aspects that users aim to get done. This paradigm shift allows businesses to uncover deeper insights into why customers make certain choices and how to tailor products and services to meet these underlying needs more effectively.

JTBD gained prominence as a response to such shortcomings of conventional marketing and research methods, which often lead to superficial understandings of consumer behavior. By shifting the emphasis from demographic data to the functional, emotional, and social dimensions of user tasks, JTBD provides a more actionable view of customer motivations and bring predictability to innovation.

What is the Jobs-to-be-Done Framework?

Originating from the work of Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen and further developed by innovators such as Anthony Ulwick, Jobs-to-be-Done theory has shifted the approach to user research and product development.

At its core, the JTBD Framework postulates that people "hire" products or services to accomplish specific tasks or "jobs." By focusing on these jobs, businesses can better comprehend what customers are trying to achieve and, more importantly, why.

JTBD could be seen more as a mindset than a systematic framework. It’s a way of thinking that orients your focus on customers, jobs, and desired outcomes. This mindset should be embraced by the entire team to prioritize customer needs.

  • Customers hire and pay solutions to execute a job.
  • Customers get the job done for a specific desired outcome.
  • Competitors are different alternatives and solutions that help customers accomplish a job.
  • Jobs are solution agnostic—Customers don’t care much about the type of tools, feature, or specs of the solutions as long as they get their jobs done.
  • User needs are articulated as desired outcomes that help measure the success of getting each job done.
  • Lastly, the framework makes innovation more predictable.

Core principles of JTBD Theory

1. Jobs over demographics

Traditional methods often break down users by age, gender, income, or other demographic factors. Jobs-to-be-Done changes the emphasis to the specific tasks or jobs that customers seek to accomplish.

Jobs are not simply intermediary actions or solutions that customers employ. Instead, jobs represent the true goals that customers are trying to accomplish. Tying back to the student example, searching for flights and hotel are intermediate steps to finalizing his trip.

Instead of asking questions like, "How do college students in early 20s book flights on their mobile phone?” JTBD prompts would suggest, "what jobs do mobile phone help college students in early 20s accomplish?"

By framing questions in a job-oriented mindset, we gain insights that are directly tied to the tasks customers are looking to achieve, allowing for a more precise alignment between product features and user needs.

2. Functional, emotional, and social jobs

Jobs are not just about functional needs. They encompass emotional and social aspects as well—how customers want to feel and how they want to be socially perceived when performing these jobs. Addressing the emotional and social dimensions of a job encourage customers to assign greater value to your product or service.

  • Functional jobs: are the practical, utilitarian tasks that the product or service helps the user accomplish. For instance, a vacuum cleaner performs the functional job of cleaning floors.
  • Emotional jobs: These are the feelings or emotional states the product or service helps to elicit or alleviate. For example, a security system not only protects homes (functional) but also provides peace of mind (emotional).
  • Social jobs: These are the social contexts and status-related aspects that the product or service influences. For example, buying an eco-friendly car not only serves the functional job of transportation and the emotional job of feeling good about making an eco-conscious choice, but also the social job of projecting a responsible image to peers.

Example

Let’s tie back to the example of the college student booking a trip to Europe for his spring break.

  • Functional job: involves finding the right flight ticket, hotel stays, and organizing his itinerary.
  • Emotional job: During the process, he wants to feel less stressed from organizing his itinerary and feel excited about his upcoming trip.
  • Social job: Lastly, he wants to be socially perceived as a person that loves to travel and experience different culture, and share his experience later on with his peers.

Understanding the emotional and social implications related to functional jobs broadens your perspective of customers, ultimately helping you deliver value that emotionally and socially resonates with them.

3. Jobs are stable over time

Unlike trends that change, the fundamental jobs that customers are trying to get done remain relatively stable. This stability makes Jobs-to-be-Done a reliable framework for long-term strategic planning. What changes over time are what and how customers are getting the jobs done.

For example, traveling abroad has been an activity for human for a long time ago. People traveled by foot, boats, and now planes. Before smartphones, we used phone calls and desktop browsers to find flights and hotels.

4. Accomplishing jobs are solution agnostic

Customers don’t care about what tools or products they use as long as they get the job done more easily or cheaper.

In the case of the student example, it doesn’t matter if he uses Google Flights on a computer browser or Expedia in his mobile app to find flights as long as he gets his itinerary setup.

It doesn’t matter how diverse a feature set a product has. It’s about how effectively or how resourcefully a tool can help a customer get the job done.

5. Customers hire tools that help them accomplish jobs easier or cheaper

Even a decade ago, customers didn’t imagine smartphones could be a thing. Ulwick states that “asking [customers] what solutions they want is a failed approach to innovation. They are not experts at product definition or design.” What customers do know are “what jobs they are trying to get done.”

New market opportunity doesn’t mean better, quicker, or faster.

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

Henry Ford

6. Outcome-driven

Jobs-to-be-Done is centered on the outcomes or progress the user seeks. User needs are translated into desired outcomes that are measurable. The JTBD frame work doesn’t end at identifying numerous jobs, but branching out and associating desired outcomes for each job.

In the student example, his desired outcome of planning his itinerary could be:

  • Minimize the time it takes to compare fares and finalize his itinerary
  • Explore and decide on activities and events happening at his destination
  • Have a peace of mind that he got the best deal possible

By articulating the desired outcomes for each job, they serve as a metric to gauge whether they’re under or over-served with mixed-methods approach (read below to learn more about its practical applications).




Applying the JTBD framework

Now that we have a better understanding of the framework, it’s important to familiarize some of its key components. These elements lay the groundwork for a structured and actionable approach to identifying and addressing jobs, thereby driving meaningful innovation and user satisfaction.

Articulating job statements

A job statement is a concise description of a specific task that customers want to accomplish. Unlike broad, vague statements, job statements are precise and focused on the tasks that customers want to accomplish, making it easier to identify actionable insights.

A well-crafted job statement typically includes:

  • The true job: What the customer wants to achieve. Instead of intermediary steps and goals, it is important to recognize the true jobs that your customers are trying to accomplish.
  • Context of the job: When and where the job arises.
  • Desired outcomes: What the user considers a successful completion of the job.
Format of job statement
Job statements comprise of situation/context, the true job, and its desired outcome.

Examples of job statements

  • “When searching for international flights, I want to easily compare the prices so I can get the best possible deal and have peace of mind.”
  • “When studying for an exam, I want to find concise and informative review materials so I can understand the content and feel confident about the exam.”
  • “As a project manager working remotely, I want to easily track progress and collaborate with my team so I can ensure timely completion.”
  • “As a patient with chronic illness, I want to consult a doctor quickly from home so I can get the treatment I need without the hassle of visiting a clinic.”

Customer segments and identifying groups with similar jobs

While traditional segmentation relies on demographics, Jobs-to-be-Done segmentation focuses on identifying groups of users with similar jobs. This segmentation is based on the context of their needs rather than their age, gender, or income.

Ulwick states that pairing type of customer and job together constitutes a market segment. For instance, in patients and healthcare setting, customer segments might include:

  • Chronic condition managers needing regular monitoring and medication
  • Preventative care seekers focused on maintaining health and wellness
  • Post-surgery recoverers requiring follow-up care and rehabilitation.

Desired outcomes as metrics for evaluating success

Desired outcomes are the specific criteria customers use to measure the success of the job. These outcomes serve as benchmarks for evaluating whether a product or service effectively meets the user’s needs.

Desired outcomes should be:

  • Measurable: Clear and quantifiable.
  • Actionable: Providing a basis for improvement.
  • Prioritized: Ranked by importance to the customers.

For example, in a financial planning app, desired outcomes might include accuracy in tracking expenses, forecasting income and expenses, and timely alerts about budget deviations.

Understanding these key components help you and your team gain a comprehensive understanding of customer needs and develop customer-centered products that are impactful.




Applying JTBD in user research

Customers won't articulate their unmet needs or specify what products we should build. Instead, it’s about asking the right questions to better understand their jobs, desired outcomes, and how they go about getting the jobs done. It is our role to derive insights from the data, translate pain points to actionable recommendations, and prioritize them.

While there is no set formula for which research method to use for Jobs-to-be-Done studies, qualitative research is an effective solution to gain rich, contextual insights into customers’ jobs and desired outcomes.

In-depth interviews

In-depth interviews can provide deep insights into customers' experiences, motivations, and challenges.

  • Exploring daily routines: By asking participants to describe their daily activities and routines, you can uncover the specific tasks or jobs they regularly perform.
  • Identifying pain points: When participants describe their routines, they often mention difficulties and obstacles they face. You can directly ask, “what are common challenges or pain points you face in your daily routine or [accomplishing a certain job]?”
  • Motivations and goals: In-depth interviews allow you to explore the underlying motivations and goals behind specific tasks. For example, "Why do you perform this task?" or "What do you hope to achieve by doing this?"
  • Defining success criteria: Asking participants about what a successful outcome looks like for them helps to identify their goals and expectations. For example, "What would make your workday easier or more successful?"
  • Emotional and social needs: Understanding both the emotional and social aspects of desired outcomes helps to capture the full range of customer needs.
  • Stories and anecdotes: In-depth interviews provide rich, qualitative data through stories and anecdotes that illustrate the jobs customers are trying to accomplish. For example, "Can you tell me about a recent time when you had to [complete a job]?"

Interview customers to gather detailed, qualitative data that provides a deep understanding of customers' jobs, pain points, and expected outcomes. Your team can make informed decisions based on customer insights.

Contextual inquiries

Contextual inquiries are a powerful ethnographic research method that involves observing and interviewing users in their natural environment while they perform their tasks. This approach provides rich, contextual insights that help identify jobs, pain points, and desired outcomes.

  • Direct observation in natural settings: Observing users in their natural environment helps you see the actual jobs users perform without the influence of artificial settings. For example, watching how a nurse uses medical software during a busy shift.
  • End-to-end perspective: Contextual inquiries offer a comprehensive view of the entire workflow, highlighting all the jobs involved in a process. For example, following the process from product selection to checkout in an e-commerce setting.
  • Frustrations and workarounds: Users often develop workarounds to bypass pain points. Observing these can highlight areas that need improvement. For example, noting how a user keeps notes on paper because the software doesn’t support their needs.
  • Gauging emotional responses: Observing users' emotional responses to tasks and challenges helps to identify their emotional outcomes. For example, noting a user’s relief when a task is completed successfully.

By leveraging contextual inquiries, you can gain a deep, nuanced understanding of users’ jobs, pain points, and desired outcomes. However, contextual inquiries are often expensive and time-consuming, making other qualitative research methods to be preferred.

Diary studies

Diary studies are a valuable method for conducting Jobs-to-Be-Done research due to their ability to capture detailed, longitudinal data about users’ experiences, behaviors, and needs over time.

  • Day-to-day context: Diary studies allow you to collect data over an extended period, providing insights into how users interact with products or services in their daily lives. This can help identify jobs that are recurrent or persistent over time.
  • Temporal patterns: By tracking users' activities and experiences over days or weeks, you can identify patterns and variations in job execution and needs, which may not be apparent in shorter studies.
  • Personal context: Participants can express their motivations, frustrations, and satisfaction in their own words, offering a personal perspective on the jobs and outcomes that matter most to them.
  • Active user engagement: Diary studies require active participation from users, which can lead to higher levels of engagement and more thoughtful responses. Participants often become more reflective about their behaviors and needs as they regularly record their experiences.
  • Flexibility to be conducted in various media: Diary studies can be conducted using different formats, including written entries, voice recordings, photos, and videos, allowing participants to choose the method that best suits their preferences and lifestyles.

Diary studies offer a comprehensive, detailed, and user-centered approach to understanding the jobs users are trying to get done with longitudinal data.

Qualitative data to actionable insights

Analyzing data related to Jobs-to-be-Done involves transforming qualitative data into actionable insights. Here’s a high-level process of how to digest qualitative data from your research:

1. Thematic analysis

  • Identify recurring themes in your data to understand common jobs and challenges.
  • Use coding techniques to label and categorize data segments.
🖌️ Quick Tip

2. Prioritize jobs and outcomes

  • Determine which jobs and desired outcomes are most critical to your users.
  • Rank them based on factors such as frequency of mention, impact on user satisfaction, and alignment with business goals. As part of the research guide, you can have participants rate the importance and satisfaction of each job and its related outcomes.

3. Brainstorm and ideate solution concepts

  • It is a great idea to run multi-day workshops that invite the entire product team members to synthesize insights together as a group.
  • Brainstorm potential solutions that address identified jobs and outcomes.

4. Iterate and refine

  • Continuously refine your findings and solutions based on user feedback and testing.
  • Implement an iterative process to ensure your products and services evolve with changing user needs.

Applying the framework in qualitative user research is helpful as it shifts the focus to understanding the underlying needs and desired outcomes of customers. This approach uncovers the true goals and motivations driving user behavior, enabling your company and business to create products that more accurately meet user needs.




JTBD in product development

Translating the insights gained from the Jobs-to-be-Done approach into tangible product development decisions is where the real impact happens.

Let’s examine how Jobs-to-be-Done can guide ideation, prioritize features, and shape user personas for impactful product development.

Using JTBD for ideation and brainstorming

Job-centric brainstorming

  • Organize brainstorming sessions where the primary focus is on identifying solutions for specific jobs.
  • The goals of the brainstorming session should be to diverge, braindumping crazy ideas, educating, and instilling JTBD mindset to the team members.
  • Use job statements as prompts to inspire creative, divergent thinking.

Instilling JTBD mindset through cross-functional team collaboration

  • Involve various departments such as design, engineering, marketing, and customer support in brainstorming sessions.
  • The goal is to synchronize the entire team and instilling the JTBD mindset.
  • Diverse inputs from various teams could provide unique perspectives and create internal connection among team members.

Use of visual tools to encourage engagement

  • Employ mind maps, customer journey map, flowcharts, and whiteboard tools to visualize and explore the connections between different jobs and potential solutions.
  • Some team members may be more comfortable writing out their thoughts than speaking in front of the team. Give them space and time to engage in brainstorming activities.

Prioritizing features and functionalities Based on job outcomes

Mapping features to jobs

  • Create a matrix that maps proposed features to specific jobs and desired outcomes. This ensures that features stay focused and related to customers’ most important jobs and desired outcomes.
  • This visual representation helps in understanding which features will have the most significant impact.
Impact x Effort Matrix
Impact x Effort Matrix: categorizes the different features into 4 different quadrants. Strive for ones that are quick, "Easy Wins," and "Big Bets" and "Incremental" items.

Run a cost-benefit/ impact-effort analysis

  • Consult with your team members to perform a cost-benefit analysis to weigh the development effort against the potential impact of each feature.
  • This helps visualize and categorize different features into 4 different quadrants:
    • Easy wins: High impact, low effort
    • Big bets: High impact, high effort. These should be the major long-term projects.
    • Money pit: Low impact, high effort. You’d want to avoid features in this quadrant.
    • Fill ins: Low impact, low effort.
  • Prioritize features that offer high value to customers with a reasonable development effort, ensuring efficient resource allocation.

User feedback and iteration

  • Collect user feedback to validate and iterate on feature prioritization.
  • Conduct usability testing and gather data on how well proposed features help users accomplish their jobs, address pain points, and efficiently achieve desired outcomes.

Developing user personas based on JTBD

Create job-oriented personas

  • Develop personas that are centered around specific jobs and desired outcomes.
  • Include details such as the tasks they need to accomplish, the challenges they face, and the context in which they operate.
    • For example, “Remote project manager, needing to track team progress, facilitate communication, and ensure timely project completion”
    • It’s job and desired outcomes would be: “Easily assign tasks to team members so that I can accurately track tasks, streamline communication, and deliver projects in timely manner.”
  • Elaborate scenarios that describe how these personas interact with your product to accomplish their jobs.
  • These scenarios provide a narrative that helps the development team empathize with users and understand their needs better.

Align personas with development roadmaps

  • Use these personas to guide your product development roadmap.
  • Ensure that each phase of development addresses the core jobs and desired outcomes of your personas.

By integrating the framework into your product development process, you can ensure that new features and improvements closely align with user needs and goals. This approach helps prioritize features that deliver the most value, fosters meaningful ideation, and creates user personas that best represent your target audience.




Integrating JTBD into your organization

Integrating Jobs-to-be-Done into your user research practices is not just about adopting a new method. It’s about fundamentally changing how you understand and serve your customers. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Start small, scale gradually

Begin with a pilot project to demonstrate the impact of JTBD. Once you see the benefits, expand its application across different projects and departments.

Educate and evangelize

Invest in educating your team and stakeholders about the principles and benefits of JTBD. Use workshops, presentations, and success stories to build enthusiasm and buy-in. Sharing the same mindset across product team members will help establish speaking a common language and approach to serving your customers.

In the long term, nourish a culture where empathy and curiosity drive your user research efforts. The more genuinely interested your team is in understanding user needs, the more effective your JTBD implementation will be.

Leverage available tools and resources

Make full use of the templates, frameworks, software tools, and recommended readings. These resources will support your JTBD initiatives and ensure you have the necessary tools to succeed.




Common challenges and practical tips to applying JTBD

Implementing the JTBD Framework effectively comes with its own set of challenges.

Identifying true Jobs-to-be-Done

Identifying the real job customers are trying to accomplish can be challenging, especially when customers themselves may not fully articulate their needs or when there is a lot of noise in the data collected.

The solution is to conduct qualitative research involving in-depth interviews and observations to go beyond surface-level questions and answers. Conduct deep-dive conversations and observational studies to uncover unarticulated jobs.

Use the “5 Whys” technique to drill down to the core need by repeatedly asking why a customer wants to achieve a particular outcome.

Henry Ford example

Henry Ford's "faster horse" example nicely illustrates the core essence of the job theory.

"If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses."

The true need isn't a faster horse. This is where you switch to researcher mode and apply the "5 Whys" technique to uncover the underlying needs.

Q: Why do you need a faster horse?

A: Because my horse is too slow!

Q: Why do you feel like your horse is too slow?

A: Well, it’s fast enough when it’s not pulling a wagon.

Q: Why do you use a wagon?

A: I need the wagon to carry passengers and other stuff. It needs to stop and rest as we travel.

Q: Why does your horse have to stop and rest?

A: Of course it has to. It’s a living thing that needs to be fed and well-rested.

Q: It sounds like a machine like train would carry your family and your stuff without being tired.

A: Trains are fine, but my horse lets me move around the town, visit other places outside the station.

The conversation could continue on. The gist here is asking the right probing questions to identify what the customer is trying to accomplish and what the underlying need is. From Ford’s perspective, the need wasn't about having a fast horse. It was about moving from point A to B.

Prioritizing jobs and desired outcomes

As you conduct thorough user research and collect extensive data, it’s common to identify numerous jobs that customers are trying to accomplish. Depending on the scope of the project, you might end up with tens of job statements and related desired outcomes.

Each job may have several desired outcomes, leading to a vast array of potential needs and goals. This can complicate the decision-making process, dilute focus, and strain resources.

  • Analysis paralysis: Overwhelmed by the sheer volume of data and insights, teams may struggle to move forward or make decisions, leading to stagnation.
  • Diluted focus: Attempting to address too many jobs at once can spread resources too thin, resulting in half-baked solutions that poorly serve the customers.
  • Resource strain: Limited resources—such as time, budget, and manpower—can complicate efforts to address all identified jobs and desired outcomes effectively.
🖌️ Quick Tip

Consider re-evaluating the scope of the project or launching a smaller scale follow-up project if you have too many job statements and desired outcomes.

Effective prioritization is crucial so that efforts are directed towards the most impactful areas. Below are some commonly used techniques to help prioritize:

1. Gap analysis

Gap analysis is a method used to compare the current performance level of your product or service with its desired performance state, as defined by user needs and desired outcomes. This comparison helps classify areas as over-served, appropriately served, and under-served.

Gap analysis can be used to prioritize the most critical jobs and outcomes by assessing where current offerings fall short.

Run a follow-up soft-quant or quantitative survey to have customers rate desired outcomes by their importance and current satisfaction in a scale of 1 to 5, followed by qualitative reasoning. Below are some few key metrics to measure:

  • Frequency: How often do customers need to accomplish the job?It probes how relevant certain jobs are to each customer.
  • Importance: How important is it to achieve [a desired outcome]? Why?
  • Satisfaction: How satisfied are you with the current way of achieving [a desired outcome]?

Making sense of opportunity score

Opportunity score can be calculated once you have the importance and current satisfaction ratings from your participants. For both importance and satisfaction below, they should be the % of 4 or 5.

Oppt Score = Importance + max(Importance - Satisfaction, 0)

Simply put, you would want to identify for areas that yield higher importance scores than satisfaction, meaning potential opportunity areas.

  • Importance = Satisfaction: Appropriately served. Making improvements in the area wouldn’t yield too much growth.
  • Importance > Satisfaction: Under-served and needs improvement, meaning the area has potential for meaningful changes that would yield great return. This is the spot where you want to look for.
  • Importance < Satisfaction: Over-served, meaning the area is already saturated and making improvements wouldn’t yield significant return.

The results are translated into opportunity scores that can be graphically visualized in a graph. Lay each item onto the graph to identify which areas are underserved.

Opportunity Score Mapping
Opportunity Score Mapping: Based on the opportunity score that is calculated, place each item onto the graph to identify which areas are opportunity areas.

2. Kano model

The Kano Model can be a valuable tool for prioritizing JTBD by categorizing and understanding customer needs and preferences. This model helps your business distinguish between different types of customer requirements and their impact on customer satisfaction.

Kano Model helps visually lay out the features by functionality and satisfaction

The Kano Model classifies customer needs mainly into four categories:

  • Basic needs (Must-be quality): Fundamental requirements that customers expect. If these are not met, customers will be dissatisfied.
  • Performance needs (One-dimensional quality): Needs that customers explicitly state. Satisfaction increases linearly with the level of fulfillment.
  • Excitement needs (Attractive quality): Unexpected features that delight customers. Their absence doesn’t cause dissatisfaction, but their presence significantly enhances satisfaction.
  • Indifferent needs: Features that do not significantly affect customer satisfaction, whether they are present or not.

Prioritizing jobs based on their impact

  • Deliver basic needs: Ensure all fundamental requirements are met to avoid customer dissatisfaction.
  • Enhance performance needs: Invest in improving these features as they directly influence customer satisfaction.
  • Identify excitement needs: Introduce innovative features that can differentiate the product and create delight among customers.

Dealing with too many jobs and desired outcomes is a common challenge when applying the the framework, but effective prioritization strategies can make this manageable. By using proper analysis, you can systematically prioritize and concentrate your efforts on the most critical jobs that will drive user satisfaction and business success.

Granularity matters in JTBD

One of the nuanced challenges in effectively implementing the Jobs-to-be-Done Framework is setting the right level of granularity when identifying and analyzing jobs. At a high level, your company has a job. Each product team also supports various parts of products or features within.

If jobs are defined too broadly, they may lack actionable insights. Conversely, if they are too granular, the complexity and volume of tasks can become unmanageable. Striking the right balance is important for deriving meaningful, actionable insights that drive product development.

  • Too Broad: Overly broad jobs can obscure specific user needs and actionable insights.
    • Ex) Identifying a job as “Manage my finances” lacks the specificity needed to develop targeted features or solutions.
  • Too Granular: Excessively granular jobs can result in an overwhelming number of micro-tasks that complicate prioritization.
    • Ex) Breaking down “Manage my finances” into dozens of micro-jobs such as “Track my grocery expenses,” “Calculate my monthly savings,” etc., can lead to analysis paralysis.
  • Lack of Consistency: Inconsistent granularity across different jobs makes it difficult to compare and prioritize tasks effectively.
    • Ex) If one job is defined broadly and another very narrowly, it becomes challenging to determine their relative importance and resource requirements.

Setting the right granularity

To set the appropriate level of granularity for JTBD, consider the following approaches:

Hierarchically structured jobs

Use a layered or hierarchical method to structure the task into main jobs, sub-jobs, and other related jobs so that you to toggle between broad and detailed view of the jobs to get done.

  • Primary job: High-level job providing a general overview.
    • Ex) “Manage my finances”
  • Secondary jobs: More specific jobs that fall under the primary job.
    • Ex) “Track my expenses,” “Plan my budget,” “Monitor my investments”
  • Sub-jobs: Detailed tasks or steps that further break down the secondary jobs.
    • Ex) “Track my expenses”: “Categorize expenses,” “Set spending limits,” “Receive alerts for overspending”

Capture functional, emotional, and social dimensions

Ensure that you are capturing functional, emotional, and social dimensions of jobs. This multi-dimensional approach can reduce the tendency to over-detail tiny tasks.

  • Functional: “Book a flight.”
  • Emotional: “Feel assured that I have chosen the best option.”
  • Social: “Impress my family with a well-organized trip.”

Gather insights from customers

Engage with customers to validate the level of granularity. Collect feedback on whether the identified jobs resonate accurately and refine as needed.

You can conduct quick surveys, in-depth interviews, or usability testing depending on the stage of research to probe the relevance of the identified jobs.

Balancing the right granularity enables you to focus on the most impactful jobs while maintaining a manageable scope. Properly setting granularity not only streamlines the decision-making process but also ensures that resources are allocated efficiently, aligning closely with user needs and business goals.




Tools and resources for JTBD

Recommended readings:

Other resources:

Implement JTBD with Hubble

Identify the underlying needs, jobs-to-be-done, and desired outcomes of your customers with Hubble

The Jobs-to-be-Done (JTBD) framework can be approached both as a framework and a mindset. By focusing on the specific jobs that customers are trying to accomplish, your company can gain deeper, more actionable insights that drive meaningful innovation and enhance user satisfaction.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Jobs-to-Be-Done (JTBD) framework?

The JTBD framework is a customer-centered approach that focuses on understanding the underlying needs and desired outcomes that drive customers to "hire" a product or service to accomplish specific tasks or goals.

Why is understanding JTBD important?

Understanding JTBD helps businesses design products and services that better meet customer needs, leading to increased customer satisfaction, loyalty, and market success. It provides insights into the real reasons customers choose certain solutions.

How do you identify a customer’s jobs-to-be-done?

JTBD can be identified through qualitative research methods such as in-depth interviews, observations, and contextual inquiries. These methods help uncover the specific tasks customers are trying to accomplish and the challenges they face.

How does Hubble help with implementing JTBD framework?

With Hubble, you can run various tests from surveys, unmoderated studies, prototype testing, and usability testing to help you validate assumptions, identify jobs and desired outcomes.

We provide JTBD-related templates to help you kickstart your project along with research support team to ensure your research is in track. To learn more, schedule a demo with one of our teams! 

Jin Jeon

UX Researcher
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Jin is a UX researcher at Hubble that helps customers collect user research insights. Jin also helps the Hubble marketing team create content related to continuous discovery. Before Hubble, Jin worked at Microsoft as a UX researcher. He graduated with a B.S. in Psychology from U.C. Berkekley and an M.S in Human Computer Interaction from University of Washington.