In the second part of a blogpost series on product development, Chris from our engineering team outlines the approach to creating a ‘Job to be Done Framework’ and illustrates how this approach enables us to develop an effective product roadmap.
In the first blog of this series, we discussed the ‘Job to be Done Framework’, its origins and why we choose to use it at Analytics Engines. In this blog, we’ll discuss the practicalities of the ‘Job to be Done Framework’ and offer guidance on how to place the needs of the user at the centre of a product solution.
Creating a Job Map
Previously, we discussed the work of Clay Christensen and his contribution to the ‘job to be done’ theory. Another notable thinker within this space is Tony Ulwick, CEO at Strategyn. While Christensen is credited with popularising the theory, Ulwick is responsible for creating it.
In an article for Medium, Ulwick states that “to create a product or service that customers will want to buy, you must first understand what fundamental measures of performance those customers use to measure success when getting the job done.”
With that in mind, let’s outline a basic ‘Jobs to be Done’ map that will enable us to generate a user story and help shape the development of a product or software solution. The purpose of a job map is to discover what the customer is trying to do at different points when executing a job.
It is important to note that we are not trying to identify how customers are currently executing a job; we aren’t mapping current processes. A good job map identifies and addresses inefficiencies in existing processes.
Defining the Market
When creating a ‘Jobs to be Done’ map, first consider the common business problem in order to define our Jobs to be Done Statement. For this example, consider two problems relating to fraudulent trading.
- Problem 1
A company deliberately carries on operations to defraud creditors. Often the companies are operating while insolvent or being wound up.
- Problem 2
A failing business has its assets purchased by the company’s directors during administration. Upon closing the old company, they continue to operate in exactly the same way using the same assets.
To capture both problems, our Jobs to be Done Statement can be defined as:
Research Organisations and Directors for potential fraudulent trading activities
Define the job executors
The next step is to define a group of Job Executors who perform this job. For this example, we will consider Fraudulent Trading with regards to the consultancy group KPMG. KPMG has identified Third-Party Risk and Supply Chain Fraud as a widespread and increasing global business risk for organisations.
As such, we can define our Job Executor as a Procurement Manager or Officer in an organisation who is responsible for managing Third Party and Supply Chain Risk.
Defining the job map
With both our Jobs to be Done Statement and Job Executor defined, we can now begin to create our Jobs to be Done Map.
|What aspects of getting the job done must the customer define upfront to proceed?
Define the person’s name or organisation the user wants to research on.
|What items must be located – tangible/intangible – to do the job?
Organise & gather all potential resources, datasets or services that might be relevant.
Northern Ireland specific datasets for Northern Ireland specific organisation
|How must the customer prepare the inputs and the environment to do the job?
They must download the different data sets and transform into readable formats.
|What must the customer verify before proceeding to ensure success?
The user must confirm correct names and spellings such as “ltd” versus “limited”.
|What must customers do to execute the job successfully?
Open Companies House Records and search for names and organisations.
Open England & Wales Insolvency Records and search for names and organisations.
Open Scotland’s Register of Insolvencies search for names and organisations.
Open HMRC and search the UK deliberate Tax Defaulters list for names and organisations
Open Northern Ireland Insolvency Service and search for recent insolvencies.
|What must the customer monitor to ensure the job is successfully executed?
The user keeps notes in a separate document of potential matching records of interests.
|What might the customer need to alter for the job to be completed successfully?
User will review potential matches for false positives/negatives.
|What must the customer do to finish the job?
User stores matches and communicates them with colleagues
Transforming the Jobs to be Done Map to Innovation
With our Jobs to be Done Map completed, we can now look at each of the individual steps to identify where the opportunities for innovation lay.
- The most immediate opportunity for innovation can be seen in the ‘Execute‘ step. Implementing some way of automating the search of multiple disparate data sources would save a lot of time for the user.
- Another opportunity for innovation can be in the ‘Monitor‘ step. At present, the user creates a static list of matches that would require them regular manual updates. Creating a solution that is able to track updates in real-time would save the user a lot of time and potentially reduce the amount of missed records.
Creating a User Story
A User Story is an anecdotal explanation of a product feature from the perspective of a user. It is a central part of the Agile Framework and enables us to describe the users, their wants and reasoning in a succinct way.
User Stories typically follow the following format:
As a < user>, I want <goal> so that <reason> .
With this format, and our Jobs to be Done Map in mind, we can create the following user stories.
User story 1
As a Procurement Officer, I want to use one search form to find all potentially related records so that I can perform my job more efficiently.
User story 2
As a Procurement Officer, I want to save previous searches and be notified via email so that I can identify potential instances of Third-Party Risk and Supply Chain Fraud in real-time.
Using these User Stories as our basis, we can then expand upon them as we develop the product feature, adding additional acceptance criteria as shown in the example below.
- As a Procurement Officer, I want to use one search form to find all potentially related records so that I can perform my job more efficiently.
- Acceptance criteria
- Must search Companies House Records
- Must search England & Wales Insolvency Records
- Must search Scotland’s Register of Insolvencies
- Must search HMRC and UK deliberate Tax Defaulters list
- Must search Northern Ireland Insolvency Service.
- Acceptance criteria
In the year 2000, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings offered to sell the fledgling company to the former industry giant Blockbuster for a mere $50 million. As the story goes, Blockbuster CEO John Antioco laughed Netflix out of the room, seeing it as a niche player.
On 23rd September 2010, Blockbuster filed for Bankruptcy. That same year, Netflix was valued at more than $8 billion. Today, they are valued at over $200 billion.
Fundamentally, Blockbuster and Netflix addressed the same issue; providing video entertainment. The distinction between these two companies comes from their understanding of the fundamental ‘Job to be Done’ and their ability to identify opportunities for innovation.
Reed Hastings attributes much of Netflix’s success to Clay Christensen and his seminal book “The Innovator’s Dilemma”. Former Netflix Vice President Neil Rothstein stated: “We studied AOL and Blockbuster as cautionary tales. We knew we had to disrupt, including disrupting ourselves, or someone else would do it.”
At Analytics Engines, we develop solutions that place the user at the centre of everything we do. Application of the ‘Job to be Done Framework’ enables us to create solutions that address the fundamental ‘Job’that our customers are trying to do and to identify clear, concise opportunities for innovation.
To find out more about our approach, contact us using the form below.