Jobs To Be Done (Video)

Overview of Jobs Theory


Video Transcript

Have you ever wondered why we make the choices we do to purchase and use certain products and services? I mean what really drives these choices? This is an important question if you’re creating and selling a product or service that people and businesses will want to buy and use. We introduce here a concept called the customer’s job to be done which will help explain these choices.

When people and organizations have jobs they need to get done, they set out to hire something or someone to do the job as effectively, easily, and inexpensively as possible.

  • They know the specific success outcomes they are looking to achieve when the job is done.
  • With these outcomes in mind, they seek out solutions and ultimately choose the one that will best achieve these outcomes for the money and effort expended.
  • This chosen solution enables them to execute all the steps required to complete the job.
  • And if all goes as expected, they achieve their success outcomes when the job is completed.

For instance, say the job is to navigate a geographic area. Google maps could be hired to do this job.

Say the job is to travel a long distance. Many people hire an airline service to get this job done.

The job could be to diagnose and treat a medical condition. Urgent care is one solution for this job.

Or to entertain the family. Perhaps a home movie will do the job.

Or the job could be to learn about a particular subject. Websites are hired all the time for this.

Some jobs are small such as pass the time while in traffic. A mobile phone is the preferred solution for many.

Some jobs are big such as start a new career. An advanced degree is often hired to help get this job done.

Some jobs surface unexpectedly like fix a broken down car. The AAA service is a good solution for occasion.

Some jobs are recurring and frequent such as shop for food. A farmer’s market is one of many solutions.

Some jobs are done once in a while such as renew a passport. If you need it fast, a passport renewal service might be the best solution for this job.

Still other job are done only once like get a college degree. A public university is often hired for this job.

Well, there are certainly a lot of jobs that we all do everyday and jobs we will need to do in the future that we’re not even aware of yet. But what is the ultimate purpose of all these jobs? As mentioned before, jobs are a means to make progress in some way. But what exactly is meant by progress? And to what end? These are the questions that we now proceed to answer.

Jobs to be Done theory has been developing since the 1950s and is at the cross section of marketing, economics, and entrepreneurship. Noteworthy contributors include Chester Wasson, Theodore Levitt, Peter Drucker, Bob Moestra, Anthony Ulwick, Lance Bettencourt, and Clayton Christenson. Jobs theory was popularized by Christenson’s seminal work on disruptive innovation circa 1999.

The central focus of Jobs Theory is on the circumstances that give rise to the jobs people and organizations want to get done and the struggle to get these jobs done in the context of those circumstances. This struggle reflects that people and organizations are continually seeking to make progress in their lives and businesses.

Putting it all together, Jobs theory is about understanding the struggle of people and organizations to achieve progress in a particular set of circumstances. When this is known, it becomes possible to explain and therefore predict what products and services they prefer now and in the future to get important jobs done.

But from a jobs perspective, people and organizations don’t really buy and use products and services. Rather, they pull solutions into their lives and businesses to make progress. But progress towards what? The fact is that we all do jobs as a means to attain or achieve some desired goal or aspiration. This means that any job involves a series of steps that must be executed to reach this goal. Thus, it can be said that a job is a process to make progress.

In the context of jobs, these desired goals and aspirations are called the Customer’s Success Outcomes. And these outcomes define the results that customers expect to achieve after a job is successfully completed. There are many possible solutions for the job — get in shape.

Now a success outcome is often a desired result such as purchasing a home. But success in getting this job done entails buying a house for the preferred price, located in a preferred neighborhood, with the preferred features, and so on.

Success in getting a job done can also be defined by the avoidance of an undesired result. For instance, security software is often hired to prevent a virus attack on a personal computer. In this case, the job is successful if no attack occurs.

To recap, the Customer’s Success Outcomes are the expected results to be obtained, achieved or prevented after a job is successfully completed.

Remember, jobs to be done is a circumstance-based lens of customer behavior. As such, a job can only be defined in the context in which it occurs. Jobs theory is very useful to innovators because it predicts why people and organizations choose certain job solutions over others.

That’s because customer behavior is ultimately rooted in circumstance. Jobs Theory uses this circumstance as the primary target for innovation work rather than other categories like product features, customer characteristics, trends, competitor product enhancements, and even new technology.

These categories are not bad or wrong, but they are disassociated from job circumstance which makes them insufficient to predict customer demand. Entrepreneurial efforts that rely on such categories divorced from job context will be hit or miss.

Jobs Theory, on the other hand, reveals the causal mechanism that drives customer behaviors and can therefore be used to reliably predict what customers value today and in the future. Jobs Theory offers much higher precision for innovation work.

So, as you can now see, when people and businesses become aware of needing to get a job done, they set out to hire a solution to do the job as effectively, easily, and inexpensively as possible to achieve their success outcomes. Companies and entrepreneurs offering products and services that help them do these jobs better than other competitive solutions are those that ultimately succeed. This is the power of jobs to be done theory.