Jobs To Be Done Method – How to Solve User Tasks Using Products?

If you watched Vdudya’s issue about Silicon Valley, then you understand that a huge number of new startups or product ideas are born there every year. And this is only a small part of the whole world. But only a small percentage of them will succeed.


A working business is also not always waiting for success – the demand for a product is falling, there are no sales, etc. Many factors can lead to closure. But enough unpleasant thoughts. Today we’ll talk about a method that helps to cope with an important task that directly affects success – to understand what your client wants?

Meet the theory of “Jobs To Be Done” – it allows you to dig deep into the minds of consumers and understand what drives them when making a purchase. At the exit, you have a product that solves the problem of its owner, and is not just stuffed with various “cool” functionality.

The theory is based on a simple thought – the consumer hires the product, not just buys it. That is, the product must cope with the tasks that the buyer poses before him. And JTBD just helps to understand what these tasks are.

Also, one of the founders of the theory, Clayton Christens and his followers believe that in a global sense, anyone wants to be the best version of himself and the product should help in this.

That is, a girl buys a washing vacuum cleaner not only to keep her home clean. She wants to feel good in a clean apartment or for her husband’s mother to consider her an excellent hostess.

We can say that JTBD is an extended description of a person or a portrait of a consumer. Theory seeks user insights and tasks. In contrast to the “person descriptions” method, where it is studied how the user uses the product, his characteristics are described, etc. Returning to the example above: JTBD helps to find out that our customer’s mother-in-law considers her a poor housewife or that a girl feels uncomfortable in a dusty apartment. This knowledge can greatly help in marketing or when creating a new vacuum cleaner.

Who can help JTBD?

The theory has no restrictions on the scope. You can be a marketer, developer, freelance SMM specialist – use JTBD to create a product / service that solves consumer problems. For example, you smmshchik. Ask the client why he decided to contact a specialist? Suppose – so as not to waste your time on this. That is, the client wants to spend time on something else more important, so he feels better. That is, you need to build the process of your SMM services so that the client is minimally involved, but gets a good result. The marketer theory of “hiring a product for work” provides a huge field of opportunity. Even after a couple of interviews, it may turn out that your product ideally meets the needs of consumers. But you do not broadcast this in advertising communication, so sales are falling.

Let’s go back to my favorite vacuum cleaner – the girl wants to feel like a good housewife in the eyes of her mother-in-law and your product helps in this. But in advertising, you focus on 10 types of nozzles, the level of product power, etc. You can shift the focus and say that all these advantages will help to quickly clean the apartment before the arrival of the mother-in-law. And now you have already solved the problem of the client.

Also, together with the team, you can change the positioning or vector of development of the company. “Tighten” the product or find out that the client does not need a feature that you would like to spend a couple of million on.

JTBD Tools and Approaches

The main tool of the JTBD method is an interview with a consumer. Of course, before him it is necessary to decide on the purpose of research and formulate hypotheses from which we will build on.

With goals, everything is quite simple – you sell furniture from a slab. For some reason, they least buy tables. The goal is to find out why.

Job story

To form a hypothesis for research, the Job Story method will help. It was invented by Intercom, so all the details are in their book. In an abridged version, a job story is a proposal based on the principle: When ___, I want ____ to ____

Here the emphasis is not only on what the user wants to (feel calmer), but also when he wants it (during exams).

Here is an example hypothesis for Jana, who wants less anxiety during the session:

When the exam period comes, I want to feel calm in order to concentrate on studying the materials, and not on disturbing thoughts.


During the interview, you will receive a large number of consumer insights. In addition to answering the main goal of the study, they will help to identify three more important things:

  • unobvious competitors
  • consumer motivation
  • which way you can develop.

Find unobvious competitors

We have already found out that the desire to purchase goods arises from users when it is necessary to solve a problem. And this task can be very different from the process of using the product. For this reason, not the most obvious ones break into the world of familiar competitors. For example, you own a coffee shop. In terms of the desire to “drink coffee,” your obvious competitors are similar coffee shops, restaurants, etc. Coworking may not be obvious. Since freelancers can come to work with you and them. But in coworking, sockets are more conveniently located, although there is a less cozy atmosphere. You, as the owner, can add more outlets to small tables and solve the problem of potential customers.

Going deeper into the study of user tasks, you can find things deeper. For example, student Yana is very anxious about exams. She chooses a calmer article from a huge number of ways:

  • buy motherwort,
  • start yoga or meditate
  • consult a psychologist.

Each option, in addition to being able to solve the problem, has other + and – for Yana. JTBD interviews will help you figure out these + and – alternative ways and understand. how important they are for the girl. For example, yoga will help not only calm down, but also be slimmer. Although it costs more than motherwort. A session with a psychologist will help solve other important problems. Knowing all this, you can make the “work” of competitors less attractive in the eyes of Yana, or change the positioning of your product so that the “work” does not compete.

Understand consumer motivation

In general, the whole theory of Jobs To Be Done is built on this. We are not considering the process of using the product, but the moment when the need arose. That is what led to the thought of buying.

To do this, in the interview process you need to identify 4 factors that act on the buyer at the time of the decision to purchase. What are these factors:

  • dissatisfaction with the current situation,
  • the appeal of a new solution,
  • anxiety and fear of change,
  • attachment to what is already there.


Anton wants to buy a new training application. He doesn’t like that in the old one only one trainer teaches (1 factor), and in the new one different trainers and free nutrition (2 factor). But he worries that he will not like / fail the exercises in the new application (factor 3), yet in the old one he already tried everything and worked out the technique (factor 4).

It is important to remember that it is the person who made the purchase decision that needs to be interviewed. Not the child who rides a bicycle, but the parents who bought it. And do not forget about emotional factors during the decision (whether you were happy / upset).

Definition of the vector of further development

To find out in which direction the company should develop, a comparison of the alleged job story and the real one will help. Intercom has a great example for this.

One of their products is a map that shows customers where their users are focused. She was very popular and the question arose of how to develop it further.

The JTBD study showed that most often the card was used at exhibitions / presentations and in social networks – to impress users or investors. Then it was decided to make the map more beautiful, but less accurate, and add the ability to share on social networks. In terms of accuracy, the map has become worse, but the “work” for user tasks has improved.

Key Points of JTBD Interview

We remember that the main purpose of the interview is to find out why the user “hired the product to work.” To do this, you need to understand the following things:

  • desires (what the client wants to receive in the future)
  • catalysts (what influenced the emergence of desires)
  • restrictions (barriers to the realization of desires)
  • a set of solutions (options that can solve the problem)


Anton began to actively engage in sports (catalyst) in order to lose weight and tighten the body (desire). But quarantine began and the gym was closed (restriction), so I need to find a solution for sports – online training, application (set of solutions).

To clarify all of the above, the following questions will help:


  • When did you first start looking for something to solve your problem?
  • Where have you been?
  • Have you been with anyone? What did they say?
  • What made you think about this?

Moment of purchase

  • When did you purchase the product?
  • Where have you been?
  • What time of day was it? (day / night?)
  • Has anyone else been with you at the time?
  • How did you get the product?

Searching of decisions

  • Tell me how you looked for a product to solve your problem.
  • What solutions have you tried / not tried? Why?


We remind you that the emotional aspect greatly affects the moment of decision making. You can ask the following questions:

  • What was the conversation like when you talked about buying a product with your <супругом / другом / родителями>?
  • Before you purchased, imagined what the product would look like? Where were you when you thought about it?
  • Have you had any concerns about your purchase?
  • Did you hear something about the product that made you nervous? What was it? Why did it make you nervous?


JTBD is a method that allows you to find out what tasks your product will solve for the client. That is why the user decides to “hire a product for work.”

It is based on a study of consumer desires, catalysts, and the constraints that led to the purchase. This helps to identify insights for improving the product or changing its positioning, as well as identifying unobvious competitors.

JTBD’s main tool is user interviews. But before conducting it, it is necessary to identify the purpose of the study and make several hypotheses for the job story.

Job story is how a consumer “hired” a product to work. It is built according to the scheme: When __, I want __ to __

The main advantage of the Jobs To Be Done approach is that it focuses not on the product, but on solving the problems of its users. This helps to transfer tasks from the “to do” mode to the “done” status.

You will learn even more subtleties of the work of a marketer in our six-month online course “Profession: Internet Marketer”. Find out the details!

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