Jobs To Be Done is a research method for uncovering the needs and characteristics of the target audience. Or in more simple terms - the gaps between actual self and desired self and what's pulling people in either direction.
My personal opinion is that JBTD is just a more fancy way of doing win-loss interviews (sales have been doing it at least for a hundred years if not since the dawn of commerce).
What Is It Exactly?
In other words, products are not the goal of any purchase. A new, better self is the actual "job to be done". Products just enable customers to get a job done (e.g. to reach a better self). The job is about the customer, features and benefits are about the product.
"Upgrade your user, not your product. Don’t build better cameras — build better photographers." — Kathy Sierra
At the same time, there are things pushing customers toward this new solution and things pulling them back to the old habits.
This is the job of the interviews - to bring out what those exact forces are.
May the forces diagram be with you, always.
The "forces diagram" is an artifact from Jobs-to-be-Done interviews. It frames the energy involved in switching from a current way of doing something to a new way. The "current way" and the "new way" represent a solution of some sort.
Jobs-As-Progress aims to answer several social phenomena such as:
- What causes someone to purchase a product for the first time?
- Why and how do consumers use markets to adapt in a changing world
- Why and how do consumers shop (search for new products, services, and technologies)?
- Why and how do consumers switch between products?
Chris Spiek recommends starting with 10 interviews:
- People who purchased your product
- People who fired your product (purchased a competing product)
You'll want to record their story, not talk about your product.
It's very important that you interview both groups. People who ditched your product are harder to interview, so, you might have to use a stronger motivator (such as an Amazon gift card). These interview are sometimes also called switch interviews.
Eventually, you will want to put together the entire timeline (story) - from first thought to buying and satisfaction:
However, in order to break the ice you could start with the point of purchase:
- When did you purchase the product?
- Where were you?
- What time of day was it?
- What was the weather like?
- Was anyone else with you at the time?
- How did you purchase the product?
- Did you buy anything else at the same time?
Finding the first thought:
- When did you first realize you needed something to solve your problem?
- Where were you?
- Were you with someone?
- What were you doing, or trying to do when it happened?
What happened between first thought and purchase - during consideration:
- Tell me about how you looked for a product to solve your problem
- What kind of solutions did you try? Or not try? Why or why not?
Being curious about emotion:
- Did you ask anyone else about what they thought about the purchase you were about to make?
- What was the conversation like when you talked about purchasing the product?
- Before you purchased did you imagine what using the product would be like? Where were you when you were thinking this?
- Did you have anxiety about the purchase? Did you hear something about the product that made you nervous? What was it? Why did it make you nervous?
- Name + Nickname
- Job journey (from which tool to which tool etc)
- Change events
- Other players
- Push events
- Pull events
- Who decided
- How they learned about the tool
Presenting the Job
- Alternate wording for the job
- More about
- Less about
What you'll end up having is:
- Be goal
- Push (motivations)
- Pull (problems, fears)
- Customer profile
- Nathan Kontny from Basecamp/Highrise shared videos while he was going through the process of finding out jobs. Some good tips about interviews there.
- When Coffee & Kale Compete by Alan Klement is a free book about JBTD which also contains examples of interview questions and other tips.
- ExtendsLogic provides an example of switch interviews - questions and initial template for getting people to sign up for interviews.
- Chris Spiek on increasing SaaS feature adoption with Jobs To Be Done.
Jobs To Be Done & Personas
JBTD can be used together with personas (see Udemy's example). In fact, they compliment each other - personas provides attitudinal information and JBTD situational information. In other words, personas can say whom to target and JTBD where and when to target and how to convince them. When we convince them to use the product, they start a journey or experience.