What are examples of jobs to be done?

What are examples of jobs to be done? What are examples of jobs to be done?

1 Expert Answer

Tony Ulwick

Founder & CEO,  Strategyn

The reason jobs-to-be-done is so powerful is that it allows you to analyze your customer’s job like you would analyze a business process. This offers a new and effective method for uncovering and prioritizing customer needs.


But in order to analyze the job like a business process, you must define the job correctly and according to a consistent set of rules. Here are a few of those rules and examples of jobs-to-be-done—defined correctly.


1. Think about the job from the customer’s perspective, not the company’s.

A company that sells herbicides to farmers may think that their customers’ job is to kill weeds. But the customer is more likely to consider the job to be preventing weeds from impacting crop yields.


Other examples of transitioning to a customer’s perspective of the job:


A tea kettle might boil hot water, but the customer’s job is preparing a hot beverage for consumption.

A wound care product might reduce wound healing time, but the customer using the product might be more concerned with preventing infection.


It’s easy to fall into the trap of using your company’s perspective when you ask what job people are hiring your product for. Instead, ask what job the customer is trying to get done.


2. Think big enough to encompass the entire job—not just a piece of it.

When you think too narrowly about the customer’s job, you’ll limit your opportunities. Customers are looking to get as much of their job done on a single platform as possible. No one likes cobbling together solutions.


For example, our farmer may be trying to prevent weeds from impacting crop yield. However, that’s a pretty narrow focus. At the end of the day, this farmer is more likely trying to grow a crop. Broadening the definition of the job-to-be-done in this instance could allow the manufacturer to create and offer a variety of complementary solutions that help the farmer get more of the job done.


Some people struggle with the right level of this step. As Theodore Levitt famously said, “People don't want to buy a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter-inch hole.” But it is possible that what people actually want is to hang a picture on the wall. Take it a step higher, and they may want to decorate a room.


The right level of abstraction for your customer’s job must still encapsulate the job of your product. It’s very possible that someone could decorate a room without ever considering a drill. In this case, the drill maker would have abstracted the job at a level that was too high for their purposes.


3. Define your market around a functional job-to-be-done, not the emotional goals that accompany it.

Understanding the emotional jobs related to your customers’ core job-to-be-done is helpful. After all, people often buy based on emotion, and these jobs can help inform your positioning and messaging.


However, you must focus on the core job-to-be-done to achieve the insights you need to help people get the job done better.


For example, if your company offers a product that prevents people from getting lost when driving, you would do yourself a disservice to conclude that your customers are hiring your product to achieve peace of mind.



Answers by Strategyn

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