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All you have to know about the Job-to-be-done method

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Maybe the Job-to-be-done framework doesn’t seem familiar yet to you or you have heard of it but don’t really know how to apply it. Well, in both cases, you are at the right place to learn more about it.

Take time to analyze how your customers can achieve what they need to do when using your digital products. Start understanding what task your digital product can complete.

The Job-to-be-done (JTBD) method, what is it?

The Job-to-be-done method, often abbreviated to JTBD, was first enunciated by Clayton M. Christensen, Professor at Harvard, and inventor of the theory of disruptive innovation. He presents his thinking as follows :

“When we buy a product, we choose it to help us do a job. If it does the job well, the next time we faced with the same job, we will use that product again. And if it doesn’t meet our expectations, we will look for an alternative.

This method focuses on the result obtained and, on the needs, that the user wishes to satisfy.

These needs can be conscious or unconscious and are identified under two categories:

The functionals jobs are the essential tasks to be carried out to achieve one’s goal. It is an objective and functional approach. 

Personal jobs cover the more subjective needs, the way a user wants to be perceived.

They are also divides into two categories:

Social jobs: criteria of social perception

Emotional jobs: emotions that the user will reach while accomplishing his tasks: fear, well-being, etc…

The JTBD method will, therefore, make it possible to find the functionalities and services that meet users’ expectations, whether these expectations are strictly functional or emotional.

JTBD vs personae

Les personae se concentrent sur le profil de l’utilisateur, son Personae focus on the user’s profile, lifestyle, community, job, personal aspirations… Job-to-be-done focuses on the user’s needs and the tasks they want to accomplish. 

JTBDs are often contrasted with personae, but this method is not intended to replace them, it simply offers another solution-oriented approach. This method will, therefore, complement your UX research.

3 tools to set up with JTBD method

Whether they are mapping or workshop tools, several tools can help to identify JTBDs.

The job map

It helps the design and research teams during the design phase of a product or service and is divided into 4 parts:

The job drivers: these are the motivations of the users, the aim here is to understand what made the job desirable.

The current behaviors: What the user does today to complete a job?

The pains points: What are the friction points, the frustrating steps in these current behaviors?

The success criteria: From the elements mapped above (motivations, actions, frustrations), we can then identify possible solutions that will improve the user experience.

The Job-to-be-done stories

Job-to-be-done stories are very similar to the user stories used in agility, but they include a context, a subjective dimension on the action to be taken (remember the “personal”) jobs”.

Example of Job-to-be-done stories:

After getting my driver’s license, I want to have my own car to be free and independent.

VS a user storie

“As a young adult, I want to acquire a car to get around.”

The writing of JTBD stories fits perfectly into the Agile framework. This deliverable makes it possible to make the link with the User stories and thus to integrate a UX dimension to the product reflection.

The JTBD interview – interview switch

The objective of this focus group is to identify the “switch event” for which reason the user has used our product or a competing product. It is important to use a panel of ten people who have used the product in the last 30 days.

To determine the switch, the interviewer will need to highlight the motivations and frustrations that led the user to make the switch.

They are divided into 4 categories:

The push: What made them look for a solution?

The pull:  What about the new solution that made them want to try it?

The habits: What are the habits that kept them in the old solution (or the lack of solution)?

The anxiety factors: What apprehensions did they have about this change of solution?

The JTBD method is an additional tool to add to your UX search. It brings a change of perspective from a solution-side perspective and will allow you to design innovative solutions with value to the user.

Do you want to know more about our user experience expertise, click here.

Written by Amélie Laheurte


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