All you should find out is what the customers’ ultimate output goal is: WHAT they want the product or service to do for them (Needs), not HOW it should do it (Solution).
People do not want a software, they want their job to be done.
While software come and go, the underlying job-to-be-done does not go away.
Instead of trying to improve your existing software, the innovation process is dramatically improved by instead trying to find better ways to get the job done.
Stop studying the software and instead study the job that people are trying to get done.
Analyze the job, not the customer or the software.
By focusing on the job-to-be-done, it becomes possible, for the first time, to know all the customer’s needs and determine which are unmet. It turns out that when customers are executing a job, they have a set of metrics in mind that define the successful execution of that job. These metrics (or desired outcomes) can be captured as actionable customer need statements that replace the customer inputs companies ordinarily capture and use to create new products.
Analyzing the job to discover where customers struggle to get the job done, rather than analyzing the software they use for that purpose.
Software evolve over time to help people get more jobs done. Jobs-to-be-done theory tells us that the more jobs a software can help a customer get done, the more valuable that product is as a software platform in that space.
Always be focused on creating the solutions that will get the job done best.
Focus on helping customers get a job done better.
What software will win in the future? The software that help customers get the job done better. Knowing where customers struggle today to execute the job-to-be-done indicates what a software has to do in the future to win.
We all know that people “hire” products to get jobs done. Office workers hire word-processing software to create documents.
For innovative ideas, first break down the job that customers want done into discrete steps. Then brainstorm ways to make steps easier, faster, or unnecessary.
Defining the execution step: what are the most central tasks that must be accomplished in getting the job done?
Defining pre-execution steps: what must happen before the core execution step to ensure the job is successfully carried out?
Defining post-execution steps: what must happen after the core execution step to ensure the job is successfully carried out?
Opportunities at the job level
Can the job be executed in a more efficient or effective sequence?
Do some customers struggle more with executing the job than others (for instance, novices versus experts, older versus younger?)
What struggles or inconveniences do customers experience because they must rely on multiple solutions to get the job done?
Is it possible to eliminate the need for particular inputs or outputs from the job?
Is it necessary that the customers execute all steps for which they are currently responsible? Can the burden be automated or shifted to someone else?
How many trends affect the way the job is executed in the future?
In what contexts do customers most struggle with executing the job today? Where else or when else might customers want to execute the job?
Opportunities at the step level
What causes variability (or unreliability) in executing this step? What causes execution to go off track?
Do some customers struggle more than others with this step?
What does this step’s ideal output look like (and in what ways is the current output less than ideal?)
Is this step more difficult to execute successfully in some contexts than others?
What are the biggest drawbacks of current solutions used to execute this step?
What makes executing this step time-consuming or inconvenient?
Defining the job-to-be-done correctly is a prerequisite to predictable success in innovation, because the job becomes the focal point around which the entire innovation process is executed.
Focus on customers that are struggling to get the job done.
The job must be defined as a process; an activity that consists of a series of steps that customers take to complete a task or achieve a goal or objective. This means that the job-to-be-done is always a functional job; not an emotional job.
Rules that define the job correctly:
1. Think about the job from the customer’s perspective.
So don’t ask “what job are people want software for”, rather ask, “what job is the customer trying to get done”. Because customers often cobble together many solutions to try and get the entire job done.
2. Think big; to encompass the entire job, not just a piece of it. A narrow focus will hurt you because customers are looking for products and services that help them get the entire job done better.
To create more value for customers. This means better satisfying the customers’ unmet needs.
Examining customer needs through a jobs-to-be-done lens, a customer need must relate to helping customers get a job done better.
5 Myths of Customer Needs
1. Customers have latent needs; needs they don’t even know they have.
2. Customers struggle to articulate their needs.
3. Customers’ needs change quickly over time.
4. Customers won’t know what they want until they see it.
5. It is impossible to ever know all the customers’ needs.
A customer need is not a solution, product feature, or idea. Nor is it a statement that describes how to make products easier to purchase, set up, install, or interface with. Customers don’t buy products and services to set them up or to interface with them. They buy products and services to get a job done.
Customers don’t know what solutions they want, but a solution is not a need. Customer needs are the metrics customers use to measure how well they’re executing the job-to-be-done.
When we define needs this way, we can readily identify all of them because customers know perfectly well what success means to them when getting a job done.
This perspective changes everything. When needs are thought of in this way, there is no such thing as a latent need or a need a customer can’t articulate. Furthermore, these needs are stable over time: they often don’t change for decades because the job-to-be-done remains the same.
Having a full set of customer needs, defined around the job-to-be-done, impacts all aspects of innovation, including the way opportunities are defined, and the way ideas are constructed, tested and positioned.
Customer needs analysis:
1- conduct personal interviews in order to dissect the job the customer is trying to get done into process steps. We call this process “job mapping.” The job map is created so the company and the interviewer have a clear understanding of what job the customer is trying to get done.
2- conduct one or more ethnographic or observational interviews with customers to gain insight into the context in which the job is getting done. This helps the interviewer be more effective at capturing and refining desired outcome statements in subsequent interviews. These interviews also may be used to better flesh out the job map and begin the outcome gathering effort.
3- conduct personal, group or observational interviews to elicit from customers what metrics they use to measure success in executing each step of the job. This is where the bulk of the desired outcome statements are captured and the heart of the customer needs analysis discipline.
4- conduct one-on-one interviews or literature searches if needed to fill in any missing details that remain after completing the first three steps.