Understanding the Concept of Jobs To Be Done

The Concept of Jobs To Be Done

Today, an important concept in product design is the 'Jobs To Be Done' (or tasks to be done), coined by Clay Christensen. In a nutshell, the concept suggests that customers buy products or services to satisfy some type of need or problem in their lives, and not just because of superficial characteristics or benefits.

For example, when you decide to buy a new car, you're not just buying a car because it looks nice or because it's fast. You're buying a car to solve the problem of having to go to work every day and not having a convenient mode of transportation. You're buying a car to satisfy your 'work-to-be-done' which is having a safe and convenient means of transportation.

How does this work?

Why the concept of 'Jobs To Be Done' is so important? That's because it helps product designers understand better what customers really need and what motivates their buying decisions. Instead of just focusing on surface-level characteristics and benefits, product designers can now focus on solving the customer's real problem and creating solutions that meet their needs.

To apply the concept of 'Jobs To Be Done', product designers must first better understand customers and their behaviors. This can be done through interviews, research, and data analysis. Once you have a better understanding of what customers are looking for, you can start creating solutions that meet those needs.

What's a 'Job To Be Done'

A 'Job To Be Done' is a broader concept than that of 'feature request' (resource request) and 'pain point' (point of pain). A 'Job To Be Done' is a real problem or need that the customer is trying to resolve. For example, 'I need a car to get to work' is a 'Job To Be Done', while 'I need a car with air conditioning' is more a superficial characteristic.

Another important question is how product designers can identify those 'Jobs To Be Done'. Product designers can identify these 'Jobs To Be Done' through client interviews, data analysis, and competitor analysis. Similarly, just as product designers can identify these 'Jobs To Be Done', they can also identify ones that are being poorly satisfied.

What is an 'Unmet Job to be Done'?

An 'Unmet Job to be Done' is a job that the customer is trying to accomplish, but they are not satisfied with the current solution. For example, if a customer buys a car to go to work, but finds traffic problems, this is an 'Unmet Job to be Done'. There's an issue that isn't being resolved properly.

Identifying those 'Jobs To Be Done' that are poorly satisfied is important because these are opportunities for product designers to create better solutions that meet the needs of customers.


In summary, the 'Jobs To Be Done' concept is crucial for product designers because it helps them better understand what customers need and what drives their purchase decisions. Identifying 'Jobs To Be Done' is the key to creating solutions that meet customer needs better and increase satisfaction. Moreover, identifying unsatisfied 'Jobs To Be Done' is an opportunity for product designers to create better solutions.

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