Persona creation usually focuses on defining the characteristics of a group of users. Although understanding who your users are is a good baseline, understanding what they’re trying to accomplish and why they’re trying to accomplish it is critical to developing truly excellent products.
What are Jobs to Be Done?
The Jobs to Be Done (JTBD) framework was made popular by Harvard Business Professor, Clayton Christensen. He asserts that:
“Knowing more and more about customers — is taking firms in the wrong direction. What they really need to home in on is the progress that the customer is trying to make in a given circumstance — what the customer hopes to accomplish. This is what we’ve come to call the job to be done.”
This sentiment can be summarized in a quote by Theodore Levitt who stated, “people don’t want to buy a quarter inch drill, they want a quarter inch hole.”
With this in mind, how can we better utilize a Jobs to Be Done approach in IT?
How to Design with JTBD
The designers at Intercom outline a simple framework to identify Jobs to Be Done. By focusing on users’ situations, motivations, and expected outcomes, Project Teams can identify jobs rather than just personas:
Here are some examples of JTBD which have led to the development of features on the BYU Mobile App:
Printers: “When I’m rushing to class, I want to know where the campus printers are, so I can have my assignment to turn in and still be on time.”
Testing Center: “When I’ve just finished a test, I want to see my score right away, so I can have peace of mind about it and move on with my day.”
SafeWalk: “When I’m walking to my custodial job on campus on night, I want to feel safe, so I can keep my job without feeling anxious about the commute.”
Each of these JTBD were identified and validated through qualitative research. Quantitative data has its place and adds value, but often jobs have emotional and social dimensions that are better revealed through qualitative methods.
Defining the JTBD of your users at the start of a project will provide you with a clear vision throughout the whole project. You can continue to look back at the statements you create to verify that the experience you’re creating is in line with the goal for the project.
Christensen, Clayton M, et al. “Know Your Customers' ‘Jobs to Be Done.’” Harvard Business Review, Harvard Business Publishing, 24 Aug. 2016, hbr.org/2016/09/know-your-customers-jobs-to-be-done.
Jupiter, Alex. “Jobs to Be Done Framework.” Medium, Make Us Proud, 29 Dec. 2017, medium.com/make-us-proud/jobs-to-be-done-framework-748c761797a8
Klement, Alan. “Designing Features Using Job Stories.” Inside Intercom, Intercom, 14 May 2018, blog.intercom.com/using-job-stories-design-features-ui-ux/.
Traynor, Des and Paul Adams. Intercom on Jobs-To-Be-Done. Ed. Geoffrey Keating. Intercom Inc. 2017. Web. 11 Jul. 2018.
Whitlock, Jeff. “The Jobs to Be Done Persona.” Product Hive. Skipio, American Fork, UT. Guest Lecture.