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Written by Alexander Hipp


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Creating JTBD to Inform Our Product Discovery

In one of the recent blog posts, we shared our ways of interviewing potential users and taking their input to build a valuable product. Today, we want to share how we use the Jobs-to-be-done framework to structure our thoughts around their problems and needs.

During my career, I used the JTBD framework on various occasions to make informed decisions and fuel product discovery. In all of these cases, the different jobs already existed, and I never had to create them from scratch.

With the help of my LinkedIn network, I've identified the perfect article for someone like me, someone with a basic understanding of the framework but who has never had to create them.After skimming through this article, I had a good idea of what I need to get started. As a quick recap, if you never worked with JTBD: A Job-to-be-done statement describes what people are trying to accomplish in a given situation. If we help people get "Jobs" done faster, more conveniently, or less expensively than before, we stand a good chance of creating products customers want.

Jobs are not the same as your mission, vision or goals. They describe an underlying human need, not the features of the product. Notably, a job should showcase a promising and specific market opportunity about an unmet need of your target users — balancing between too broad or too niche. What exactly is too general or too niche? This balance is more art than science, but as Paul Graham describes: "You can either build something a large number of people want a small amount or something a small number of people want a large amount. Choose the latter." But don't define the Job too narrowly. A small Job will limit our ability to innovate.

Running through the following process brought us to seven core jobs-to-be-done that now inform our product discovery, solution creation and thinking about our target group.

  1. We were writing a rough target audience definition. Who do we think could benefit from the idea we have in mind for Beyond.
  2. Interviewing roughly a 100 potential user within that target audience to learn about their problems, needs and processes
  3. Creating a map that showcased how different needs relate to each other and what caused them.
  4. Defining the JTBD-statements (starting with a verb) describes a deeply rooted problem we identified in many user interviews.
  5. After we defined the seven JTBD, we described them in more detail by answering the following questions.
  • Who are the people within the target audience who experience the need?
  • How do they currently satisfy this need?
  • What is their expected outcome?
  • How could Beyond satisfy the need better than existing products?

Together with our Purpose, Vision and Mission statement, the JTBD are building an excellent foundation for our product work on our way to reaching Product-Market-Fit and shaping our product roadmap

Thanks to Jim Kalbach (The Jobs To Be Done Playbook) and Sunita Mohanty (Build Products That Solve Real Problems With This Lightweight JTBD Framework) for writing an excellent book and article explaining the framework and Thomas Flinsbach and Thomas Leitermann for recommending it to me.

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