Research: Outcomes & Jobs to be Done

The third step in the research process is about translating your user’s needs into desired outcomes and job stories.

Outcomes & Jobs to be Done

What are they?

At this stage, your goal is to translate your customer needs research into a series of desired outcomes and jobs-to-be-done.

The desired outcome describes what your customer is trying to achieve. Usually this can be described in terms of maximizing a gain or minimizing a loss.

The jobs-to-be-done describe the subset of outcomes that must be accomplished in order to achieve the desired outcome. The fundamental idea is that customers don’t buy products or services, they buy the jobs that those products or services have been hired to fulfill.


Creating a Job Story

A job story can created using the following template, provided by Intercom:

Intercom Job Story

The beauty of this framework comes from matching your customer’s desired outcomes to different jobs-to-be-done. Once you understand your customer’s desired outcomes & the jobs-to-be-done, it becomes your responsibility to envision and design better ways of fulfilling those jobs. This might come in the form of new features, or entirely different products and services your customer is willing to pay you for.

JTBD Process

Intercom lays out the following process to developing job stories:

  1. Start with the high level job.

  2. Identify smaller jobs which help resolve the high level job.

  3. Observe how people solve the problem now (the job they currently use).

  4. Come up with a Job Story to investigate the causality, anxieties, and motivations of what they do now.

  5. Create a solution which resolves that Job Story.

Want to learn more on the topic? 

The foremost expert on this topic is Anthony Ulwick’s Outcome-Driven Innovation Process from his book “What Customers Want”. Intercom also provides a fantastic resources for using the Jobs-to-be-Done framework in the process of developing products and services for your customer.

I hope the frameworks I’ve shared guide you along the task of defining your customer’s desired outcomes and jobs-to-be-done. In the next post, I’ll finish off the Research process with a couple frameworks for how to prioritize jobs and build a Product Roadmap.



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