The Jobs-to-be-done framework helps you understand both the goals of your customers and your true competition. When you meet with your customers, it’s important to ask them questions that help you empathize with their pains, what they’re hoping to get help with, and what they’re trying to get done during their day.  With that information, you can build products and services that deliver significant value to address their pains, wants, and needs.

Value Propostition Canvas

For this post, I’d like to focus on the Jobs.  They are essential to understanding what your customer is trying to accomplish.  Jobs can be framed as emotional achievements as well as a standard to-do list. For instance, many people visit Facebook to satisfy emotional needs as well as to get something done. An emotional goal might be to reduce their loneliness, while their to-do item might be to share content. These are two different goals that have been achieved throughout time with various solutions. In the 1600s, visiting a coffee shop was a solution to reducing the feeling of loneliness. Before Facebook, people solved this need with online and offline solutions. Although Facebook hasn’t replaced live social gatherings, I’m sure it has displaced some. Whether it’s a book club, church group, or bar-b-q, socializing has certainly changed now that we are able to stay connected with our friends virtually.

Grouping your customers based on the goals they’re trying to achieve helps you avoid the pitfalls of accidentally grouping people just because they fit into a neat persona. One customer may have several objectives when using your product. You should build toward those objectives, not their demographics. You’ll miss something if you focus on those demograhpics or job titles, rather than their objectives.

As you design your product, and start planning feature development, you should consider the jobs that your customers are trying to achieve with your product.  In fact, this blog post recommends using the job story format to replace the traditional persona stories that follow the format of “As a USER PERSONA, I want to ACTION, so that I can GET AN OUTCOME.”

Alan Klement Job Story -

Alan Klement Job Story –

I’ve been using this story format recently, and I really like the emphasis on the situation that my customers are in, rather than their persona.  I believe this is helping us build better products and aligning our engineering development with customer needs.

If you’re interested in learning more about product management, please check out my Udemy Course on building products at startups.