The Core Tenets of JTBD Theory

  1. People buy products and services to get a “job” done.
  2. Jobs are functional, with emotional and social components.
  3. A Job-to-be-Done is stable over time.
  4. A Job-to-be-Done is solution agnostic.
  5. Success comes from making the “job”, rather than the product or the customer, the unit of analysis.
  6. A deep understanding of the customer’s “job” makes marketing more effective and innovation far more predictable.
  7. People want products and services that will help them get a job done better and/or more cheaply
  8. People seek out products and services that enable them to get the entire job done on a single platform
  9. Innovation becomes predictable when “needs” are defined as the metrics customers use to measure success when getting the job done

So… What is JTBD?

As defined by the pioneers:

Jobs-to-be-Done is best defined as a perspective — a lens through which you can observe markets, customers, needs, competitors, and customer segments differently, and by doing so, make innovation far more predictable and profitable.

Tony Ulwick

People don’t simply buy products or services; they pull them into their lives to make progress. We call this progress the “job” they are trying to get done, and understanding this opens a world of innovation possibilities.

Christensen Institute


JTBD Frameworks

While the theoretical foundations are generally agreed upon, things differ when it comes to practical applications of Jobs to be Done tools and techniques. There are two primary schools of thought:

Two approaches:

I can’t tell you which approach is the right fit for you, but I would urge you to study both and cherrypick the tools and techniques that fit your team and way of working.

The Job Story format

When _______ [context],

I want to ________ [motivation],

So I can _________ (desired outcome)

Origin of Job Stories:


A Job Story is a great way to introduce demand thinking to your team and coworkers, as both a workshop/intro tool, and as a format to keep insights visible over time.

Read the accompanying blog post: Intro to Job Stories.

Benefits of working with Jobs to be Done

In my experience, Jobs Theory, and its associated frameworks, is universally applicable and highly useful, because it provides the models that we use to create:

Sticky Insights: Make data reliable and understand demand for our products
Common Goals: Low risk and high potential
Shared Language: Eliminate waste and empower people

Read on to find all of the resources I’ve gathered from studying and applying JTBD thinking since 2012:

Deep dives into JTBD

Essential Reads

Two presentations, by Andrei Radulescu, that bring together ODI and Switch to bridge the perceived gap between these JTBD schools:

What Is Jobs-To-Be-Done?, makes the case for Jobs-To-Be-Done and brings to life its theoretical foundations using two illustrations and a case study.

Intro to JTBD, discusses application areas, research methods, and takes a deeper, more abstract look, at the theoretical foundations.

Books on JTBD


The Innovator’s Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book That Will Change the Way You Do Business



The Jobs-to-be-Done Handbook: Practical techniques for improving your application of Jobs-to-be-Done





INTERCOM ON JOBS-TO-BE-DONE: Great products start with real problems


Videos on JTBD

Articles on JTBD


Sites on JTBD

Get my JTBD tools

Sign up below to get my free templates and worksheets:

  • Switch Interview kit for Timeline mapping and modeling demand around the 4 Forces of Progress
  • Job Story canvas to get you started on building a better backlog
  • ERRC Grid (Eliminate, Reduce, Raise, Create) to continuously collect, map and hold customer feedback and strategic insights
  • Strategy Canvas to chart and visualize strategy — where are you now, and where are you going? (Where’s the blue ocean?)

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