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What Is the “Jobs to Be Done” Method?

How can you understand the motivation of users and offer them the right product? How can you correctly identify the competitors of the product and surpass them? What features should you develop first? The “Jobs to Be Done” method helps answer these questions. In this article, we at Wowmaking will cover all the key points of using JTBD. It has been helping us build successful mobile apps for a long time.

JTBD – what is it?

Jobs to Be Done is an increasingly popular approach to product creation. The main idea behind JTBD is that users purchase the same product for different purposes, or, in other words, they hire a product to work for them. For example, some users use Youtube to watch videos in their free time, while others use ads to sell their services or products.

Why study this approach?

JTBD began to form into a separate methodology in the late 1980s. Daniel Kahneman, Alan Clement, Gary Klein wrote works on it. Examining the decision-making process, they came to an unexpected conclusion. First of all, when creating a product you need to think about what the user wants to achieve in specific circumstances. And context is the determining factor here.

The user has different tasks at different points in time and he will hire different products to solve them. If the user needs to transfer money by computer, he will use online banking; if he passes the time in the queue, he will scroll through the Instagram feed. A product gains value only when it is used in a particular situation.

The JTBD method helps you understand why users buy your product, predict what they will buy in the future, and identify unobvious competitors. By applying this approach in practice, you can cut costs, increase income and competitiveness, or ultimately create an innovative product.

Who can use it?

When working with a product, developers used to prefer the persona method. We created an image of the target audience and tried to find out how they use the product. This method still works well in some situations where the product is being built for a segmented audience. But if the goal is to attract a new audience, then it often turns out to be ineffective.

JTBD focuses on people’s motivation to make a purchase decision. It is not so important how people use the product, it is important to understand why they bought it. If we talk about mobile applications, then, instead of developing new features, you need to focus on the value of the product for the user, what kind of work it can perform for him.

The JTBD theory will be useful not only in different areas but also at different levels of who works with the product: top managers, designers, developers – everyone who wants to create products that are in demand.

How to identify competitors?

If you look at the product from the point of view of solving the user’s problem, you can see new competitors. For example, you decide to open a fruit delivery service in beautiful craft boxes. At first glance, it may seem that your main competitor is the online delivery of any supermarket where you can order fruit. But, if users find themselves in HR and the problem is to make a pleasant surprise for employees, then your competitor will most likely be a company producing branded souvenirs.

In this regard, three types of competition can be distinguished:

Direct – products that do the same job;

Replacement – products that do the same job but in different ways (crossword magazines and crossword apps);

Indirect – foods that fulfill different jobs and lead to conflicting results (movement tracker versus fast-food hamburgers).

How to understand user motivation?

To understand the motivation of the user, it is necessary to consider that they are driven by four forces:

  • dissatisfaction with the existing solution;
  • the attractiveness of a new solution that should get rid of the problem;
  • worry that new problems will appear;
  • attachment to a familiar solution.

You can get information about all these factors and compose a job story (for which job your product is hired) through interviews. During a conversation with a user, it is important not only to get data about what did not suit the old product but how they learned about the new one. A person’s emotions could have influenced the buying decision, so it would not be superfluous to ask what the mood or the weather was.

Job stories focus on context and finding an answer for why people use your product. Cardinally different audiences can have one goal; for example, the CEO and mom can post Instagram photos on maternity leave to stay in touch with their friends.

It may sound unexpected, but users who don’t buy your product find a replacement for something old in it. And it is important for the company to find a moment when a person thinks about a new solution, and to direct it in the right direction.

Prioritizing goals according to JBTD

When you understand what kind of work the user wants to hire your product for, it’s time to prioritize and decide what to implement first. For this, an analysis of 3 factors is carried out: how important the work itself is for the user, to what extent the user is satisfied with the current solution, whether there is potential for the development of an even more innovative solution. Based on the result obtained, it is possible to identify “underserved” work and build an innovative strategy.

When a company focuses on user concerns and offers a product that does the right job, it can count on success.

The Wowmaking team always needs specialists who understand and apply the JBTD method in their work. Visit our site at wowmaking.by or subscribe to us on social networks Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram. Join our wowteam!

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Credit: wowmaking.medium.com