Jobs to be done


When to use Jobs to be done

What is Jobs to be done

Jobs-to-be-done (JTBD) is a theory based on the idea that whenever users “hire” (i.e., use) a product, they do it for a specific “job” (i.e., to achieve a particular outcome).

Pro tip: A common mistake when learn about JTBD, is to think it’s about tasks or activities. JTBD is not about doing things, it’s about making a change so I can become something better.

Why use JTBD?

JTBD is about progress and why we start using products (or any solution really). Understanding progress helps us get away from focusing on products: what it is, how people use it, the outcomes associated with its use

  1. Innovators (designers) can be more creative and have more focus, because they understand the positive change consumers want to make with a product

What isn’t a Job to be Done

A big mistake is thinking of a Job to be done as an activity or task. Listen to music. Cut a piece of wood in a straight line. Grill food. Get from point A to B on time… These are not Jobs. These are activities or tasks. They are about doing things, not becoming something new or different.

A better me

Instead a Job to be Done describe the “better me.” It answers the question, “How are you better since you started using [product]?”

Upgrade your user, not your product. Don’t build better cameras — build better photographers.

Customers don’t want your product or what it does; they want help making themselves better (i.e., they want to evolve, make progress).

A JTBD is about a desire for progress:

  1. There is your current way of living / working
  2. There is new, better way of living / working you desire
  3. Constraints block you going from #1 to #2

THAT is the Job to be Done.

Use progress to define why people buy and use products:

JTBD is not the study of how people use products, it’s the study of why.


Free me from the stress I deal with when figuring out what products won’t harm my children so I can have more time to enjoy being a parent.

Note the two parts: (1) the Job, (2) when the job is done

The emphasis on a struggle for progress is why this JTBD model often makes use of phrases such as give me, help me, make the, take away, free me, or equip me. These phrases remind us that success comes from the customers using the product to make progress. It also helps you think about how your product fits in between where they are now and where they want to be.

Job story

All about context and causality.

  1. Refine A Situation By Adding Contextual Information
  2. Job Stories Come From Real People Not Personas

When ___ , I want to ___ , so I can _____ .

Jobs story


When an important new customer signs up, I want to be notified, so I can start a conversation with them.

When I’m in a rush, starving, need something I can eat with one hand while ‘on the go’, am not sure when the next time I’ll be able to eat, …

user stories

As a ___ , I want to ___ , so I can _____ .

Example: As a tea drinker I want to pick up my tea by a handle, so that I don’t burn my hands.

User stories can be broken down if needed:

  • As a tea drinker, I want my tea in a mug so that I can pick it up.
  • As a tea drinker, I want my mug to have a handle so that I don’t burn my hands.

Concluding notes