Unpack your customer's job-to-be-done

Unpack your customer's job-to-be-done

A "Job to be Done" is a powerful concept that shifts our perspective from focusing on product features to focusing on the customer's fundamental goal. It is the journey a customer undertakes when seeking to transform their current situation into a more desirable one.

Understanding your customers 'Jobs to be Done' is key to designing effective, meaningful solutions. In this exercise, you'll delve into these 'jobs', unravelling the tasks your customers are trying to perform, the obstacles they face, and their aspirations for a better situation. You'll use a visual decision-making framework to help you identify true customer jobs from mere activities or dislikes. By gaining a clear understanding of your customers 'jobs', you'll be better equipped to create products that truly meet their needs, facilitating their journey towards their desired situation.


To help the team better understand what the customer's job is by using a visual decision-making process.


Divide your team into smaller groups and assign each group a specific customer persona that uses your product/service.

Provide each group with a list of potential jobs you believe your customers might be trying to accomplish with your product/service.

Using the visual decision-making process, ask each group to work through the list of potential customer jobs.

a) First, they should ask if they can visualise the customer performing the action. If yes, it's likely not an activity or task.

b) If no, they should then ask if the job describes something the customer doesn't like. If yes, it's likely describing what the customer doesn't like about the "me of today". It's not a customer's job.

c) If no, they should ask if the job describes a better version of the customer (a new me). If yes, it's either part of or an entire customer job. If not, it's not the customer's job.

Have each group identify and justify the primary job(s) of their assigned customer persona based on this exercise.

Each group will present their customer persona, their list of potential jobs, and their identified customer job(s) to the rest of the team. They should also share their thought process and any major realisations or surprises they encountered during the exercise.

Encourage discussion, feedback, and questions after each group's presentation.

This exercise will provide your team with a more nuanced understanding of what your customer's job truly is, driving more empathetic and effective product and service design.

Example for a B2B SaaS startup.

Here’s how a B2B SaaS startup, let's call them "EffiSoft", offering project management software performed the 'Unpacking the Customer's Job' exercise:

The EffiSoft team was divided into three groups, each representing a different customer persona - startup founders, project managers in SMEs, and CTOs in larger corporations.

Each group was given a list of potential jobs that the team believed their persona might be trying to accomplish with their software. For instance, the list for project managers included 'tracking project progress', 'collaborating with team members', 'managing project risks', and 'increasing team productivity'.

Each group used the visual decision-making framework to go through the list of potential jobs.

For example, 'collaborating with team members' - They asked, 'Can we visualize the customer doing this?' The answer was yes, so they concluded that it's a task, not a job.

Next, they looked at 'increasing team productivity'. They asked, 'Can we visualize the customer doing this?' The answer was no. 'Is this describing something the customer doesn't like?' No. 'Is this describing a better version of the customer?' Yes. Therefore, they concluded that 'increasing team productivity' is a customer job.

The groups identified the primary jobs of their assigned personas. For project managers, the jobs included 'increasing team productivity', 'ensuring projects stay on schedule', and 'mitigating project risks'.

Each group presented their customer persona, list of potential jobs, and identified jobs to the rest of the team. They shared their thought process and discussed any surprising discoveries or realizations.

Following each presentation, the team engaged in a discussion, offering feedback and asking questions.

This exercise helped EffiSoft to better understand the fundamental goals of their customers, enabling them to fine-tune their software to more effectively assist customers in accomplishing their 'jobs'.

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