Penelope Rance

My UX research & design ramblings

The Research Things - Jobs To Be Done

This week I attended the latest The Research Thing event about Jobs To Be Done.

While I have come across Jobs To Be Done (JTBD) before, I have not used them, and only have a very basic understanding of them, so this week’s event was perfect.

Steph Troeth kicked us off with a talk called Understanding JTBD. This is exactly what I needed as she went into the details of what JTBD are and when you might use them, using making coffee as an example.

The first thing to understand is the difference between tasks and jobs. (I think I will need some practice with this) The key is to remove all mention of solutions. Also jobs should not change over time, while a task might.

Steph then went into a lot more detail around different ways of writing problem statements, where in the design process you might use them and how they can be useful for research.

Tom Hoy then went into the limitations of JTBD.

As with anything there is a time and place to use any method and Tom used Spotify as a case study to show when JTBD might not be the best approach.

Spotify want to encourage their listeners to listen to a greater variety of music, including artists they have not come across before, however most of their listeners want to listen to music they are already aware of and already has meaning for them.

JTBD seem to work best when there is a conscious desire for something, be that great coffee or a new computer. However, finding music that has real meaning for you does not tend to be something people set out to do, meaning JTBD works less well.

Finding meaning in music probably includes a unique experience, possibly quite social, like that song you kept hearing while on holiday with your friends and will forever take you back to that time in your life.

This makes it very hard for Spotify to use JTBD to come up with a solution to this particular problem.

It was great to be shown examples of both when JTBD will be useful and when it might not be the best method to use.

It was an interesting event and really helped me to get a better understanding of how Jobs To Be Done can be useful when conducting research.

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