Jobs to Be Done Theory + 6 Real-Life Examples

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Experience Design

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Staying attuned to customer requirements has emerged as a critical factor in propelling innovation and facilitating digital transformation endeavors. Within this context, the Jobs to be Done (JTBD) theory assumes center stage as an invaluable approach to discerning the unmet pain points experienced by customers.

Unlike conventional methodologies, JTBD theory does not rely on chance or assumptions drawn from customer demographics. Rather, it seeks to comprehend the overarching tasks or “Customer Jobs” that customers aspire to fulfill. By adopting this methodology, enterprises can adopt a more proactive stance in addressing customer needs and fashioning value propositions and business models that genuinely resonate with them.

In this enlightening video, Stefan F. Dieffenbacher, the esteemed founder of Digital Leadership, provides a concise overview of the Jobs to be Done theory. With his deep expertise in the domain, he sheds light on how this theory facilitates outcome-driven innovation and aligns with overall business strategy and business goals.

Through the lens of the value proposition canvas, Dieffenbacher elucidates how the Jobs to be Done theory empowers businesses to comprehend the higher-level tasks customers aspire to accomplish.

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What Is Jobs To Be Done?

The Jobs to be Done (JTBD) methodology represents a transformative approach to business operations, dedicated to discerning and addressing customers’ unmet pain points with remarkable precision. This fundamental shift sets it apart from conventional methods, as it eliminates the reliance on luck and sidesteps the wasteful expenditure of resources on irrelevant or suboptimal alternatives.

By synergistically leveraging the Jobs to Be Done Methodology alongside influential tools like the Value Proposition Canvas and the Business Model Canvas, organizations gain access to a formidable toolkit, empowering them to fully comprehend and adeptly serve the unique needs of their customers.

Unlike traditional approaches that derive assumptions about customer needs from their characteristics, Jobs to Be Done pivots towards identifying the higher-level tasks, or “Customer Jobs,” that customers strive to accomplish. Embodying a proactive stance, this approach emphasizes the tangible outcomes that customers seek from businesses, placing heightened significance on the results of the partnership rather than the mere transactional relationship itself.

Such a paradigm shift engenders a profound reconsideration of products, consumers, and prospective competition. In practical application, the JTBD methodology seamlessly integrates with established practices, including design thinking, to foster an extensive understanding of customer needs. By doing so, businesses gain the ability to forge value propositions and business models that resonate deeply with their target audience, fueling value creation and fostering long-term success within an outcome-driven innovation process.

Jobs to Be Done Examples: 6 Real-Life Examples

Successful businesses address customers’ needs by helping them complete their Job to be Done. Below are some examples of innovations and companies that match the concept of JTBD.

Where some of these products or companies are no longer in favor as much as they used to be, consider this: What changed, the product, the Job, or the needs and expectations of the customer? How can a company successfully complete one Job and make a transition when the environment changes?

  • Customer job to be done: “I want a mobile device that lets me listen to my music while I’m running”
    “Hire” Sony Walkman and Apple iPod: In both cases, these products took large leaps forward in making music mobile, and, importantly, giving the user an option to customize the experience beyond merely selecting a radio station.
  • Customer job to be done: “I want to easily shop for the book I want and get it quickly”
    “Hire” Amazon: Amazon solved the problem of book availability. Whereas a brick-and-mortar store was limited in how many different books it could stock, Amazon could draw upon a much larger variety.
  • Customer job to be done: “I want to connect to my classmates (and know who’s available to date”
    “Hire” Facebook: Whatever you think of social media and Facebook specifically, you can’t deny how large it now looms in the lives of many of its users. While coding and algorithms might be complicated, the JTBD Facebook completes is a fairly simple one, and surprisingly simple to the Job completed by physical bookstores: the site makes it easier for users to connect with one another. At first exclusive to college students, Facebook is now used by millions of people worldwide.
  • Customer job to be done: “I want a communication platform that allows me to connect with colleagues and collaborate on projects remotely”
    “Hire” Slack and Microsoft Teams: Slack and Microsoft Teams have redefined workplace communication by providing powerful collaboration tools, real-time messaging, file-sharing capabilities, and integrations with various productivity apps. These platforms have become indispensable for remote teams, fostering efficient communication, and enhancing teamwork regardless of geographical location.
  • Customer job to be done: “I want a ride-hailing service that provides reliable transportation at the touch of a button”
    “Hire” Uber and Lyft: Uber and Lyft have revolutionized the transportation industry by offering convenient and reliable ride-hailing services through mobile applications. They have made it effortless for users to request a ride, track the arrival of their driver, and pay seamlessly through digital platforms, transforming the way people travel in urban areas.
  • Customer job to be done: “I want a fitness tracker that helps me monitor my workouts and track my progress”
    “Hire” Fitbit and Garmin: Both Fitbit and Garmin have revolutionized the fitness tracking industry by offering advanced devices that enable users to monitor their exercise routines, track vital metrics such as heart rate and calories burned, and analyze their progress over time. These products provide users with personalized insights and the ability to set and achieve their fitness goals.

What is the Jobs to Be Done Framework?

The Jobs to Be Done (JTBD) Framework is an outcome-driven innovation process designed to identify and address the pain points experienced by customers. By focusing on understanding important but unmet user needs, rather than generating solutions without customer insights, businesses can develop a more effective innovation strategy.

The framework comprises a series of well-defined steps that enable organizations to evaluate customer needs and align their efforts to meet them. It serves as the practical implementation of the Jobs to be Done Theory, providing a clear pathway informed by the philosophy underlying the theory.

By employing the JTBD Framework, businesses can gain a comprehensive understanding of customer pain points, enabling them to develop innovative solutions that precisely address these needs. This outcome-driven approach helps organizations shape their innovation strategy and create products and services that truly resonate with their target customers.

The Jobs to Be Done Framework Steps

The Jobs to Be Done Framework comprises five essential steps for implementing the theory effectively. To begin, the first step involves framing the job, which consists of two components: crafting a one-sentence Job Statement that encapsulates the customer’s needs using their own words, and utilizing the eight steps of the Job Map to uncover the specific tasks and activities customers undertake to fulfill their job.

Step (1): Creating a Job Statement

In order to create an accurate Job Statement, it is important to ensure it is written from the customer’s perspective, avoiding the use of internal jargon and assumptions. It should clearly identify the type of improvement desired, the aspect being improved, the affected parties, and the contextual clarifier.

Jobs to be Done Customer's Job Statement
The UNITE Jobs to Be Done Customer’s Job Statement
Designed by: Digital Leadership AG – Source: Helge Tennø.

By establishing a concise and unbiased Job Statement, the project team achieves alignment and includes the customer’s voice in the process.

Step (2): Discovering through Interviews

The next step involves conducting qualitative interviews to gain deeper insights into how customers attempt to accomplish the job. These interviews should be performed by the organization’s own team members to obtain firsthand information.

Initially, the focus is on validating the main steps of the job by refining the Job Statement and improving the Job Map. Subsequent interviews aim to understand the mindset and motivations of customers and collect the criteria they employ to assess job completion. These criteria can be functional, emotional, or social in nature, and the interviews help uncover them while ensuring completeness and accuracy.

What are the 8 Steps of Jobs to Be Done Map?

Jobs to Be Done Job Map
The UNITE Jobs to be Done Universal Map
Designed by: Digital Leadership AG – Source: Lance A. Bettencourt and Anthony W. Ulwick.
  1. Define and plan: The customer consciously or subconsciously creates an initial plan for their approach to achieving their goal.
  2. Locate the input needed: The customer identifies and locates the information necessary for them to decide what to do.
  3. Prepare: The customer organizes and makes sense of the information, filters and qualifies it, establishes theories, and goes to find more information or chooses to make a decision about what to do.
  4. Confirm and validate: The customer makes a decision to take action and validates it.
  5. Execute: The customer performs the action or procedure leading from the decision.
  6. Monitor: As the decision is executed the customer monitors the effects and outcome.
  7. Modify: Monitoring creates new information which leads the customer to assess their original decision. Did they make a good decision, or do they need to go back and make a new decision based on their new data? Do they just conclude (move to the next phase), or do they continuously monitor and improve their decision?
  8. Conclude: In some jobs, the customer concludes at some point that their journey is over. They take stock of their situation based on their assessment from the modify phase and conclude if they were happy or not and learn from it.

Step (3): Validation with Data

Following the qualitative interviews, the third step involves validating the identified customer criteria with data. This is achieved through a large-scale quantitative survey that covers the final 50-150 Customer Criteria. The survey participants rate the importance of each criterion and their satisfaction with the available options on a scale of 1 to 5.

Jobs to be done Customer Criteria template
The UNITE Jobs to Be Done Template for Defining Customer Criteria
Designed by: Digital Leadership AG – Source: Strategyn

The resulting data provides valuable insights and identifies significant growth opportunities.

Step (4): Identify Opportunities

In the fourth step, the survey results are visualized to facilitate immediate accessibility and actionability for the team. Visualization tools such as the Job Journey Navigator enable the mapping of Customer Criteria to the Job Map, highlighting the most promising opportunities.

Jobs To Be Done Journey Navigator
The Jobs to Be Done Journey Navigator
Designed by: Digital Leadership AG – Source: Vendbridge Switzerland.

This visualization aids in prioritization and guides the team in imagining solutions and creating products.

Step (5): Spin towards Solutions

Finally, in the fifth step, the focus shifts towards connecting the Jobs to Be Done theory with potential solutions. Based on the prioritized opportunities identified through the Job Journey Navigator, the team selects the most suitable needs for major investments.

Each opportunity is articulated as a promise, and a comparison is made to determine which ones align best with the organization’s capabilities and innovation journey. The UNITE Customer Promise Canvas is employed as a tool to visualize the proposed solutions.

Jobs to Be Done Customer Promise Canvas
The UNITE Jobs to Be Done Customer Promise Canvas
Designed by: Helge Tennø & Stefan F. Dieffenbacher. Based on the Value Proposition framework of Vendbridge

What Makes Jobs To Be Done Different?

In the past, customer-centric operations almost always meant the same approach: Getting to know and characterizing one’s own customers as well as possible in order to be able to draw conclusions about their (consumer) behavior and needs from their characteristics.

What sounds sensible at first glance, however, is not entirely flawless. The principle of JTBD represents an alternative approach with which you can gain more direct access to your customers.

Much more about JTBD and other approaches to innovation strategy you will find in our brand-new FREE book “How to Create Innovation” Register for the download now!

Until now, the general principle has been that the better you know your target group and can describe them, the better the products and services you can develop based on these considerations. Detailed personas were used to give customers a face and a personality.

The purpose of all this was to be able to put oneself in the shoes of one’s own customers – after all, one is often not even part of the target group oneself. But you cannot simply predict a person’s actions from their characteristics. There are many correlations between a person’s characteristics and their actions.

Another common mistake is to focus too much on a particular product or misunderstand customer needs. Theodore Levitt famously said,

“Customers don’t want a drill, they want a hole in the wall.”

Theodore Levitt

Instead of focusing on developing a better drill, we should concentrate on the actual problem.

Jobs to be Done Customer's Job Statement
The UNITE Jobs to Be Done Customer’s Job Statement
Designed by: Digital Leadership AG – Source: Helge Tennø.

How should you structure your business most efficiently? This is where the UNITE Jobs-to-be-Done Statement and Map come into play. The JTBD Framework enables you to drive customer-centric growth and innovation processes to increase customer satisfaction, loyalty, and revenue.

The Jobs To Be Done Theory

If marketers, decision-makers, or product developers want to improve business results, they have to understand the jobs that arise in the life of our customers. We must provide solutions. Understanding who these people are is the wrong unit of analysis.

What we really want to know is what they are trying to get done. At the center of the theory is the “Job:” A job is a fundamental problem a customer needs to resolve in a given situation. The JTBD Theory pushes us to understand the customer experience. Why do customers come to us, and not the competition? Is it because we have the product with the highest specifications? Are we the cheapest? Or is it due to our fantastic marketing department?

The Jobs to be Done theory is based on three assumptions

When you decide to adopt the Jobs to be Done approach, you are agreeing to work within some simple assumptions that drive decision-making.

1. Customers buy a product or service to perform a specific task.

A passenger doesn’t want a ride in a cab, he wants to reach a place. A construction worker doesn’t want to push a wheelbarrow, he wants to move material from one place to the next. A payroll specialist doesn’t want a computer program, she wants an easy method for tracking hourly wages.

Such a task becomes the job to be done.

2. The task is at the heart of strategies and innovations.

Products evolve over time, but the job to be done remains fundamentally the same.

As a result, if the customer’s needs are always initially conceived as the JTBD, they remain stable and valid for longer periods. Companies can remain focused on outcome-driven innovation.

3. The jobs of your customers open up completely new perspectives for you.

JTBD allows strategy, Disruptive Innovation, and product creation to be based on stable customer needs that offer the greatest value creation potential. We solicit customer insights to serve them better.

Because we think about the Job to Be Done, we invest in developing solutions that have practical market value.

Jobs to Be Done Customer Criteria Template

Jobs to be done Customer Criteria template
The UNITE Jobs to Be Done Template for Defining Customer Criteria
Designed by: Digital Leadership AG – Source: Strategyn

Why Is The Jobs To Be Done Principle Is Important?

The JTBD principle can be applied in many areas and can support you in your company in many ways. For example, consider the following application areas:

Customer Centricity – Creating a shared awareness of customers and their needs for you and your team.

Customer Segmentation – JTBD can serve as a basis for a new form of segmentation by asking for the different jobs.

Marketing – customer approaches can be made more accurate, for example by addressing relevant product features

Competitive intelligence – JTBD can provide a different perspective on the market and the competitive landscape.

Innovation – JTBD enables you to develop new products and business models that are more closely aligned with all the customer needs.

How You Can Use JTBD Yourself?

In an independent study of different innovation methods, innovation consulting firm Strategyn, one of the companies which have developed and led the Jobs to be Done approach, found that the success rate of their innovative approach was 86% compared to the average success rate of traditional innovation methods, which was 17%. Clearly, a targeted innovation strategy approach naturally outperforms most ideation/luck-based methods.

Jobs Theory and the Jobs to be Done practices can be valuable tools for thinking of new ideas and developing breakthrough products that improve your business’s value proposition.

Jobs to Be Done Building Block in Value Proposition Canvas

The following steps provide you with a common ground that will support you in applying the method. It can best be implemented in the form of a workshop.

The question of why

Ask yourself why customers use your product and what tasks they want to perform with it? Consider not only the functional aspects but also emotional and social aspects. Each participant formulates their ideas on moderation cards, with one need on each card.

Evaluate answers

Collect the answers so that each creator explains them briefly. Group similar ideas together under one phrase. You can also optionally organize by type of need (emotional, functional, social).

Translate goals into user stories

Formulate both direct and indirect goals as user stories, such as “I buy the product to…”. Each goal should result in a user story.

Ask why not

Think about why customers don’t buy your product and also consider alternatives, competitors, or workarounds that customers use instead. Evaluate your product and alternatives in terms of customer goals and needs.

Find potential for improvement

Use the previous steps to identify areas for improvement in your product, service, or strategy. Formulate hypotheses to better meet customer needs and define metrics to measure success.


Talk to customers and non-customers. Ask the “why” and the “why not” questions. Watch users use your product or prototype, if applicable. Use the exchanges and observations to test the hypotheses.

Jobs To Be Done Business Argument

There is no point in going through all the hoops if we only end up making unproven, potentially biased assumptions about the customer based on our own gut feelings. This is why we recommend setting aside the necessary investments to include the customers in your work in a qualitative and quantitative way.

Innovation badly needs increased investment security. The most optimistic statistics report that emerging corporate and private innovations have a failure rate of 70%, with the most negative statistics suggesting a 96% failure rate within the first four years.  Of those remaining, only a fraction of them is successful.

Most innovations remain small and irrelevant to the overall market. The biggest reason for these shocking numbers is that people are not taking the time to understand their customers’ needs sufficiently. Instead of considering customers’ jobs, businesses push innovations forward blindly.

Conclusion On JTBD

Jobs to be done is still a young theory or methodology that does not ask about the characteristics of customers, but about the higher-level tasks (jobs) they want to accomplish.

This leads to a new perspective on product, user, and also competition. In practical application, the approach can be combined well with familiar methods, such as those from design thinking.

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