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Jobs-To-Be-Done Needs Framework

We create websites and applications to help users achieve objectives beyond the product or service, understanding that each user has a unique set of goals or tasks in mind. 

Imagine that you bought a torque wrench; in many cases, this purchase aims to tighten a bolt to a specific load. The wrench is not the goal, but the outcome obtained through the wrench is. The product was hired for a particular result, a tightened bolt.

Users don’t buy products; they hire products to achieve a particular result. By viewing products or services this way, you can start to identify what motivations lay behind the choices of your users. This is a method from the Jobs-To-Be-Done framework.

High Level

The framework is a research method and tool to help build the right product for the right user. Implementing this lens onto your project will enable you to answer the question of what motivates the user to select a specific product or service and the reasons behind it.

Hire A Product

When using Jobs-To-Be-Done, “buying a product” is swapped out with the phrase “hire a product.” 

Hiring a product is a lens or mindset to view your product or service development. The jobs-To-Be-Done method aims to evaluate the product from the perspective of the usage by the user. Users can hire a product, and they could fire a product or service if it does not perform as it was intended. If we understand what the user is trying to get done, and the intended usage, we can build a product that matches their needs. 

Need Statements

The Jobs-To-Be-Done framework helps us organize and collect user goals through short need statements. Need statements present a user’s desired outcomes from the usage of the product or service. We have intent behind our decisions; We are trying to get something done. These statements provide an overview of these needs. There are five types of needs statements:

  • Core functional job
  • Emotional jobs
  • Related jobs
  • Consumption chain jobs
  • Purchase decision job

For introductory simplicity, we will focus on Core functional Job. The core functional job is the primary type of need the user tries to accomplish with the product or service.

A core job statement might look like this:

  • Help me achieve a sense of freedom and adventure

Let’s consider a scenario where a Core job statement is applicable.

Example Case:

When reading at home, I constantly get distracted by household chores. There are always things that need washing, cleaning, or building. My solution to this problem was to read at a local coffee shop instead. There I had nothing to divert my attention.

You could say that the Core job I hired the coffee shop for was:

  • I need an environment without distractions

Above, we see the reasoning and intentions behind the user’s decision. We see why the statement is written the way it is. We need context when we develop these statements for a product, like in the case above. 

But how do we gain this context if we are not the user? 


We need to understand what goal the product was hired for. The best way to achieve this is through qualitative interviews. Interviewing is an art form in itself, but if you find yourself interviewing a user for this reason, see if you can find out what the user was trying to get done the last instance they purchased the product or service or what workarounds they go through if they can’t access what they need. The goal is to discover what motivations drive the users in the context of the product or service.

Example Application

You’re participating in a product brainstorming session at your business, and your team has come up with some genuinely exciting ideas. Now you’re wondering how to choose the ideas that bring the most value to your product. You could choose the best and brightest idea, or perhaps the idea that seems easiest to implement. But which choice adds the value you so desperately need? The answer will vary, but with that said, what does the end user see as valuable, mainly when accomplishing their desired outcome? Users are looking for products that help them achieve their goals or jobs.

When we understand the user’s desired outcomes, we can shape our decision-making to aim for the value the user finds desirable.

Final Thoughts

Product or service development dramatically benefits from understanding what users are trying to accomplish. Getting this right in development could ensure the product or service is built with the correct value for the right user.

Of course, there is more to this exciting framework, but I hope you leave this blog post with some understanding of its fundamentals. 

To learn more about this subject, see pioneer Tony Ulwick’s content on the Jobs-To-Be-Done theory or Clay Christensen’s work on the Theory of Jobs-To-Be-Done.

Sources used for this blog post:

Tony Ulwick:

Jobs-to-be-Done: A Framework for Customer Needs | by Tony Ulwick | JTBD + Outcome-Driven Innovation

Harvard business school:

Clayton Christensen: The Theory of Jobs To Be Done – HBS Working Knowledge

 Nielsen Norman Group:

Jobs-to-Be-Done vs. Personas