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Jobs-to-be-Done Framework

Jobs-To-Be-Done Framework Definition

The Jobs-to-be-done Framework, often abbreviated as JTBD, is a tool used to understand customer needs by focusing on the underlying “jobs” they are trying to accomplish with a product or service.

Historically, companies focused on customer demographics or the features of a product. However, as Harvard Business Review noted, “customers don’t simply buy products or services; they ‘hire’ them to do a job.” This revolutionary idea became the foundational principle of the JTBD framework.

What is the Jobs-to-be-done Framework?

The Jobs-to-be-done Framework revolves around the notion that consumers purchase products or services to accomplish specific “jobs” or tasks. Instead of concentrating on customer demographics or product attributes, JTBD emphasizes understanding the core challenges or problems consumers aim to solve.

The JTBD approach shifts the focus from “Who is the customer?” to “What is the customer trying to achieve?” This transformation allows businesses to innovate effectively by crafting solutions that align with their target audience’s actual needs and desires.

Understanding the JTBD Process

At its heart, the JTBD framework provides a structured way to uncover and define customer needs. By identifying and addressing these needs, companies can design products or services that resonate with their audience.

The question arises, “How to use the Jobs-to-be-done Framework?” To harness its potential, one can follow the 8 steps of the jobs to be done:

  • Segment Market Around Jobs: Identify various tasks or challenges customers face rather than categorizing them based on traditional demographics.
  • Unearth the Job Executors: Discover who is responsible for ensuring the ‘job’ is done.
  • Document Job Steps: Detail consumers’ process to complete the ‘job.’ For instance, if you’re analyzing a software tool, observe user behavior through user testing sessions. This offers deep insights into the actual steps and potential pain points.
  • Highlight Desired Outcomes: Understand the goals consumers aim to achieve when completing the ‘job.’
  • Discover Constraints: Recognize any barriers or restrictions faced by consumers.
  • Analyze Existing Solutions: Assess how current products or services cater to these ‘jobs.’
  • Identify Opportunity Areas: Spot gaps in the market where customer needs aren’t being met.
  • Develop Solutions: Create products or services that address the identified needs.

Jobs-to-be-done Framework Examples

Digital Notepads: Before the surge of digital devices, individuals who wanted to jot down notes during meetings or lectures had the primary job of capturing information quickly and efficiently. Companies like Remarkable saw this ‘job’ and went beyond just creating another tablet. They designed digital notepads that emulated the feel of pen on paper, recognizing that the ‘job’ wasn’t just about capturing notes but also about the tactile experience of writing.

Ride-Sharing Apps: Instead of focusing solely on providing transportation, companies like Uber and Lyft recognized a job-to-be-done: offering a convenient, reliable, and affordable method to move from point A to B.

Digital Payment Solutions: Consumers needed a safer, quicker method to transfer money and make purchases. Digital wallets and online payment systems cater to this job, offering seamless financial transactions.

Different Types of JTBD

The JTBD can be categorized into two main types:

  • Functional Jobs: These are practical tasks that consumers want to accomplish, like mowing the lawn or emailing.
  • Emotional Jobs: These are more abstract and revolve around how a product or service makes the user feel. For instance, a luxury car might satisfy functional jobs like transportation, but it also meets emotional jobs related to status, self-esteem, and personal accomplishment.

Advanced Insights

  • Integration with Other Frameworks: The JTBD framework can synergize with Lean Startup principles. Lean Startup emphasizes rapid prototypes and iterative design based on user feedback, which aligns perfectly with JTBD’s focus on addressing real user jobs.
  • Common Misconceptions: A frequent misconception is that JTBD is only about functional tasks, while, in reality, it addresses both functional and emotional jobs.
  • Tools & Techniques: Tools like Intercom have developed specialized survey features to collect JTBD data, allowing businesses to understand what ‘jobs’ their products are being ‘hired’ for.


The Jobs-to-be-done Framework offers a fresh perspective on understanding customer needs. By focusing on the jobs consumers try to complete, businesses can innovate and design solutions that resonate with their target audience, ensuring lasting success and customer satisfaction.

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