In this episode, Brian Rhea shares his unique approach to using Jobs to be Done to discover what customers truely want and prioritize features.


After listening to this episode, you'll understand:

  • What Jobs to be Done is and why it can be a powerful tool
  • How to find your customer’s job to be done
  • How to prioritize work using customer interviews
  • The forces behind customer decisions and adopting a change


One of the biggest challenges we face is discovering what our customers truly need.  It’s more than separating needs from wants.  Identifying unmet customer needs before a customer asks for them can lead to move valuable solutions, greater customer satisfaction, and new product development.


Jobs To Be Done

A great way to discover unmet customer needs is to explore what job they’re trying to hire a solution for.  People aren’t trying to buy a software package or product, they’re trying to solve a need.  They want to relieve a pain or make their lives better.

People don’t want to buy a drill, they want to buy a hole.  They’re hiring a drill to do the job of creating the hole they want.  This is the essence of Jobs to be Done (JTBD).

Through meeting with users and observing customers, we can discover their jobs to be done and create a solution that they want to hire to fulfil that job.


Observing Customers to Find Gold

When observing users and customers, we want to watch how they interact with their current solution and explore their current process.  Understanding not only what they do but why they do it is key.

Find their jobs to be done along with the pains in fulfilling that job today and you’ll discover the unmet needs that you can solve.

If you discover that your customers are using a product in an unintended way or not following a typical process, you may have struck gold.  Deviations from the normal process or using a product in an unusual way provides opportunities to discover new customer needs.  This allows you to create valuable solutions for those customers.


Prioritizing Features

Once you’ve discovered some jobs to be done, you can explore whether or not it would be valuable and appropriately prioritize it using customer interviews and surveys.

For each job to be done, ask customers to rate a small piece of that job across two dimensions; importance and satisfaction.  Gather data on how important it is to them and how satisfied they are with the way they meet this need today.

If something is not important to them or if they are satisfied with the way they meet their need today, this is likely a low priority or something that you don’t need.  However, if something that is important with customers that are unsatisfied with current solutions, that’s a great opportunity to create a valuable solution.


Listen to the full episode to understand how to use Jobs to be Done to discover unmet customer needs, prioritize solution delivery, and get your customers to switch to your product.



If you’re not doing customer interviews now on a regular basis, get started by just doing one and see what you learn.

Don’t forget when speaking with your customers and stakeholders to work to discover the underlying job to be done.  What unmet needs does your customer have and how do they address those needs today?  Focus your efforts on fulfilling their job and solving their unmet needs.


 Links mentioned in this episode:

Brian Rhea

Brian Rhea

Product Strategy Consultant

Brian Rhea helps organizations design and build better products through customer research and jobs to be done.  He is a product designer and has years of experience navigating the competing priorities of engineering, product, sales, and customer support.  Brian helps companies ship profitable software and he believes that knowing how to build something is easy compared to knowing what to build.


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