What is a Jobs-to-be-Done Framework?

Ruben Buijs
August 10, 2023

The Jobs-to-be-Done Framework is a powerful tool used in product management to understand customers' needs, motivations, and desired outcomes. It focuses on the job customers are trying to accomplish rather than just their demographic or psychographic characteristics. By identifying the core "job" that customers are hiring a product or service to do, product managers can better design and position their offerings to meet those needs effectively.

Importance of the Jobs-to-be-Done Framework

Understanding the Jobs-to-be-Done Framework is crucial for product managers as it provides valuable insights into customer behavior and helps them make informed decisions. Here's why it is important:

  1. Customer-Centric Approach: The framework shifts the focus from product features to the actual problems customers are trying to solve. It helps product managers understand what drives customers' behavior and enables them to create solutions that align with customers' goals.
  2. Identifying Opportunities: By analyzing the jobs customers want to be done, product managers can uncover unmet needs and identify opportunities for innovation. This framework allows them to think beyond incremental improvements and envision disruptive solutions.
  3. Effective Positioning: Knowing the job customers are hiring a product for allows product managers to position their offerings more effectively. They can highlight the unique value proposition of their product by emphasizing how it helps customers accomplish their desired outcomes.

How to Use the Jobs-to-be-Done Framework

To effectively use the Jobs-to-be-Done Framework, product managers can follow these steps:

  1. Identify the Core Job: Start by identifying the core job customers are trying to accomplish. This involves understanding the context, motivations, and desired outcomes of customers when they "hire" a product or service.
  2. Example: In the case of a coffee shop, the core job might be "getting a quick energy boost in the morning" or "finding a cozy place to relax and unwind."
  3. Segment Customers: Once the core job is identified, segment customers based on their unique needs and desired outcomes. This helps in tailoring the product or service to specific customer groups.
  4. Example: In the coffee shop example, segments might include busy professionals seeking a quick caffeine fix or students looking for a quiet study spot.
  5. Analyze Competing Solutions: Analyze the existing solutions customers are using to accomplish the job. Understand the strengths and weaknesses of these solutions to identify areas for improvement.
  6. Example: Competing solutions for the coffee shop might include other coffee shops, energy drinks, or making coffee at home.
  7. Design Solutions: Based on the insights gained, design solutions that better address the job customers want to be done. Focus on creating products or services that provide a superior experience or offer unique features.
  8. Example: The coffee shop could offer a mobile ordering app for busy professionals or provide cozy study nooks for students.

Useful Tips for Applying the Jobs-to-be-Done Framework

Here are some useful tips to consider when applying the Jobs-to-be-Done Framework:

  1. Observation and Interviews: Conduct interviews and observe customers in real-life situations to gain a deep understanding of their needs and behavior. This can provide valuable insights into the job they want to be done.
  2. Keep it Simple: Focus on the core job customers are trying to accomplish and avoid getting distracted by secondary or peripheral needs. Keeping it simple allows for clearer product design and positioning.
  3. Iterative Approach: Continuously refine and iterate on your understanding of the job-to-be-done. As customer needs evolve, so should your product or service.
  4. Collaboration: Involve cross-functional teams and stakeholders in the process to gain diverse perspectives and ensure alignment with business goals.

Related Terms


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

The Jobs-to-be-Done Framework is a conceptual framework that helps product managers understand the underlying motivations and needs of customers when they purchase or use a product.

How does the Jobs-to-be-Done Framework differ from traditional market research?

Traditional market research focuses on demographics and psychographics, while the Jobs-to-be-Done Framework focuses on understanding the 'job' or task a customer is trying to accomplish and the progress they want to make in their lives.

How can the Jobs-to-be-Done Framework benefit product managers?

The Jobs-to-be-Done Framework can benefit product managers by providing insights into customer needs and motivations, enabling them to develop products that better meet those needs and differentiate from competitors.

What are the key components of the Jobs-to-be-Done Framework?

The key components of the Jobs-to-be-Done Framework include identifying the job, understanding the motivations and desired outcomes, mapping the customer's progress, and evaluating competing solutions.

How can I identify the 'job' in the Jobs-to-be-Done Framework?

To identify the 'job,' product managers should focus on understanding the specific task or problem customers are trying to solve, rather than just the features or functions of a product.

What is the role of customer motivations in the Jobs-to-be-Done Framework?

Customer motivations help product managers understand why customers are looking to accomplish a particular job and what outcomes they desire. This understanding can guide product development and marketing strategies.

How can mapping customer progress be useful in the Jobs-to-be-Done Framework?

Mapping customer progress allows product managers to visualize the steps customers take to accomplish a job, which can reveal pain points, opportunities for improvement, and areas where a product can create value.

How can the Jobs-to-be-Done Framework help evaluate competing solutions?

By focusing on the job and desired outcomes, the Jobs-to-be-Done Framework helps product managers compare and evaluate different solutions based on their ability to help customers make progress and achieve their goals.

What are some examples of using the Jobs-to-be-Done Framework in product management?

Examples of using the Jobs-to-be-Done Framework in product management include identifying the job of 'staying connected with friends' for a social networking app or understanding the job of 'managing personal finances' for a budgeting software.

Are there any limitations to the Jobs-to-be-Done Framework?

While the Jobs-to-be-Done Framework is a valuable tool, it may not capture all aspects of customer behavior and decision-making. It should be used in conjunction with other research methods for a comprehensive understanding.