What Is The Jobs-To-Be-Done Framework?

The jobs-to-be-done (JTBD) framework defines, categorizes, captures, and organizes consumer needs. The jobs-to-be-done framework is based on the premise that consumers buy products and services to get jobs done. While products tend to come and go, the consumer need to get jobs done endures indefinitely. This theory was popularized by Tony Ulwick, who also detailed his book Jobs To Be Done: Theory to Practice.

Understanding the jobs-to-be-done-framework

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But why do products and services tend to come and go? Most failures occur because of a misalignment with consumer needs. That is, product development teams do not understand the metrics that consumers use to measure success.

To that end, the jobs-to-be-done framework was created. It allows businesses to identify consumer needs that are less likely to become invalid or obsolete over time. By developing products based on these needs, the products themselves are more likely to endure. There is also a higher likelihood that the business has developed an innovative product.

In the next section, we will look at a methodology that guides innovative, needs-based product development.

The eight-step jobs-to-be-done methodology

While there are several approaches to determining customer needs, this methodology allows businesses to identify needs at every stage of the job process.

1 – Define

A customer usually begins by defining what they need to proceed with a job. This includes identifying an objective and then formulating a plan toward achieving that objective. Weight Watchers assists dieters in losing weight by offering a suite of weight-loss plans where the hassle of counting calories has been removed.

2 – Locate

In the second step, the customer locates the items and information required for the job. Here, a business can innovate by making the location process easier. DIY removalist company U-Haul provides moving kits with its range of vehicles, with the number and type of each box specific to every customer’s move.

3 – Prepare

Preparation involves the arranging of necessary inputs within the environment required for the job. Most jobs require some degree of preparation and it can be made less difficult by automation, safeguards, or user guides to name a few.

4 – Confirm

What information does the customer need to verify before proceeding with the job? This step is especially important for jobs that require quick and accurate decisions or checks. Oracle created merchandising software that enabled staff to gauge the best time and markdown percentages for product sales.

5 – Execute

As the job is being carried out, a business should address needs resulting from problems or delays. Identifying needs in the execution stage is vital because customers consider this is the most important part of the job. During surgical procedures, Kimberly-Clark developed a heated water system to avoid fluctuations in patient body temperature.

6 – Monitor

Does the customer need to monitor something that will aid in the successful completion of the job? That is, will adjustments be necessary to improve execution? Nike manufactures shoes containing sensors that give instantaneous data about the exercise session with respect to fitness goals.

7 – Modify

If adjustments are necessary, the business must reduce the number of adjustments required as a matter of priority. When, how, and where will the adjustments take place? Microsoft’s automatic update system saves customers the hassle of finding, downloading, and then implementing updates. 

8 – Conclude 

What does the customer need to do to complete the job? Some jobs are concluded simply, such as the drying of hands after they have been washed. Other jobs including the printing and binding of a completed report are more complex.

Adhesive company 3M simplified the often convoluted process of removing wound dressings after surgery. By designing a dressing that adhered only to itself and not to the skin, the job of removal became quick and painless for the patient.

Key takeaways

  • The jobs-to-be-done-framework is an innovative approach to product development through a detailed analysis of customer needs.
  • The jobs-to-be-done-framework helps a business address discrepancies between metrics it considers important and metrics considered important by the customer.
  • The jobs-to-be-done-framework features an eight-step methodology that describes the evolution of a job from creating a plan to job execution and adjustment-making. This allows a business to systematically anticipate and then meet customer needs.

Related frameworks

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Business Modeling


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Business Model Canvas

The business model canvas is a framework proposed by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur in Busines Model Generation enabling the design of business models through nine building blocks comprising: key partners, key activities, value propositions, customer relationships, customer segments, critical resources, channels, cost structure, and revenue streams.

Lean Startup Canvas

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Blitzscaling Business Model Innovation Canvas

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The jobs-to-be-done (JTBD) framework defines, categorizes, captures, and organizes consumer needs. The jobs-to-be-done framework is based on the premise that consumers buy products and services to get jobs done. While products tend to come and go, the consumer need to get jobs done endures indefinitely. This theory was popularized by Tony Ulwick, who also detailed his book Jobs To Be Done: Theory to Practice.

Customer Obsession

Customer obsession goes beyond quantitative and qualitative data about customers, and it moves around customers’ feedback to gather valuable insights. Those insights start with the entrepreneur’s wandering process, driven by hunch, gut, intuition, curiosity, and a builder mindset. The product discovery moves around a building, reworking, experimenting, and iterating loop.

Value Proposition Canvas

A value proposition is about how you create value for customers. While many entrepreneurial theories draw from customers’ problems and pain points, value can also be created via demand generation, which is about enabling people to identify with your brand, thus generating demand for your products and services.

Business Design

A business designer is a person that helps organizations to find and test a business model that can be tested and iterated so that value can be captured by the organization in the long run. Business design is the discipline, set of tools and processes that help entrepreneurs prototype business models and test them in the marketplace. 

Design Sprint

A design sprint is a proven five-day process where critical business questions are answered through speedy design and prototyping, focusing on the end-user. A design sprint starts with a weekly challenge that should finish with a prototype, test at the end, and therefore a lesson learned to be iterated.


Agile started as a lightweight development method compared to heavyweight software development, which is the core paradigm of the previous decades of software development. By 2001 the Manifesto for Agile Software Development was born as a set of principles that defined the new paradigm for software development as a continuous iteration. This would also influence the way of doing business.

Read Next: Agile Methodology, Business Model Canvas, Lean Canvas, Value Proposition, VTDF Framework.

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