What is jobs-to-be-done?

Jobs-to-be-done is a new lens to look at products. This famous quote from Theodore Levitt, in his book from 1983, shows this way of thinking:

”They don’t want quarter-inch [drill] bits. They want quarter-inch holes.”

People don’t buy products; they ‘hire’ products to do jobs like solving a problem or fulfilling a desire.

With JTBD, you can align on the users and their ‘jobs’ (goals & tasks they want to achieve in their life):

  • Higher level jobs (bigger, aspirational goals): e.g., leading a fulfilled life
  • Core jobs (necessary to do to reach aspirational goals): e.g., getting engaged in the local community
  • Lower level jobs (detailed tasks to accomplish goal): e.g., finding a suitable initiative they can support with their skills

JTBD and job metrics (job metrics describe how well a job is done from the users' point of view) illustrate the needs and emotions of users throughout their user journey. JTBD can identify opportunities for product development and help to focus. JTBD are solution agnostic; therefore, they have long term validity.


You want to learn more about JTBD? Check out these resources:

Jim Kalbach



My talks about JTBD

Usability & User Experience Book

Text book with UX basics for exam preparation.

-> Open Amazon

User Research & Agile

How can we integrate user research into agile? NHS Digital case study.

-> Open PDF

Contextual Research

Why we need to research in context to deliver great products - 3 case studies.

-> Open PDF