Jobs To Be Done

A user research technique that addresses customer’s problems rather than their attributes as users.

The Jobs To Be Done framework (JTBD) is a theory where customer research is approached from a problem-solving perspective. Marketers, designers and other actors involved in product developement use this methodology to pinpoint their customer’s needs and address them.

JTBD is based on a simple premise: that users don’t buy products, but instead hire services to fulfill their needs or solve specific pain points.

Rather than focusing on:

  • user features like age, sex, education level or shared values,
  • or product characteristics & market circumstances,

this perspective takes a look at the needs of customers and helps tracing a roadmap to fulfill them.

The basis of this framework was first laid down by IBM’s Product Manager Tony Ulwick when he invented the Outcome-Driven Innovation approach (ODI). The method was later expanded and popularized by Harvard academic evangelist Clayton Christensen in his book The Innovator’s Solution (2003).