Jobs to Be Done – Examining user requirements product-independently

Jobs to Be Done

Jobs to Be Done (JTBD) is an approach to interviewing and researching user needs. Instead of investigating the use and properties of products or services, the method focuses on the users’ original problems – their “jobs”. Users don’t just buy a product. Users “hire” products or services to solve a problem – that is, to fulfill a certain job.

Focus on the overall goal of products and services

The question “What would motivate someone to buy our product” gives way to the motif “What did they do, think or use before they last used such a product?” This product-independent approach makes it possible to “start from scratch” again and thus find solutions that optimally meet user needs. The principle also calls into question whether the actions taken so far by users to solve their problems are really the best way to do their job.

Jobs to Be Done process

The Jobs to Be Done interview examines all steps from the existing need (job) to the experience and satisfaction with a product or service. The user’s experiences are reconstructed on the way to the purchase or the first use. This goes back to the “first thought” that triggered the search for the product or service. In order to focus on the needs of users, interviews are usually conducted independently of the use of products and interfaces.

Optimize product solutions and develop innovations with Jobs to Be Done

The insight into the original job of the user enables a qualitatively founded further and new development of products and services. Properties and features that already support the fulfillment of the job should be optimized and expanded. If the job would be better handled by another product, innovative solutions can be developed. These can partly detach from the original product. In addition, the marketing of products and services also offers opportunities for optimization.

The application of the method poses the challenge of neither formulating users’ jobs too narrowly nor too broadly. Jobs should provide sufficient room for interpretation to combine the examples provided by several study participants. However, in order to be able to continue working with the jobs identified in the long term, they should also be concrete enough to describe a specific need.

An example to illustrate the method:

A Video-On-Demand provider wants to find out the user motivations of its customers in order to optimize its offer and its interface, so that as few users as possible migrate to competing platforms. Qualitative jobs to be done interviews are then conducted first. Based on the findings of these interviews, jobs are developed that are assigned to two superior needs:

  • Users know what they want to see and want to access this defined content quickly and easily.
  • Users do not know what they want to see and want to be inspired by the offer – as relevantly as possible.

The priority of individual jobs can then be determined quantitatively with a survey.

The application of the method allows the Video on Demand provider a well-founded further development of functions and elements of its interface – for example an optimization of the search function, an increase in the relevance of recommendations or a better genre limitation.


Jobs to Be Done provides insights into the fundamental motivation of customers to use a product or service. Due to its product-independent approach, the method is particularly suitable for the qualitatively founded further and new development of products and services as well as the optimization of their marketing and positioning.


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Ines Staab
Ines Staab
Ines Staab ist bei Facit Digital Expertin für qualitative Markt- und Nutzerforschung, wie z. B. Usability-Tests und Tiefeninterviews. Neben einer unvoreingenommenen Grundhaltung ist ihr besonders ein hoher Grad an Empathie wichtig, um den Nutzer und seine Bedürfnisse bestmöglich zu verstehen und für ihre nationalen und internationalen Kunden fundierte Optimierungsempfehlungen zu erarbeiten.