The jobs-to-be-done framework posits that people “hire” a product to do a specific job for them, and understanding what that is helps companies design successful products.
I wanted to apply this framework to my camera app, Futurecam, and see what jobs people might hire Futurecam to do:
- Capture beautiful photos different from run of the mill photos, as a hobby, for personal satisfaction, and to win appreciation from friends.
- Capture personal memories like vacation photos. Here the reason is emotional rather than artistic, as with the previous point. Your family photo means nothing to strangers.
- As a professional photographer, to increase revenue, either by taking better photos they couldn’t otherwise take (easily), or indirectly by developing a reputation.
The jobs-to-be-done framework is slightly different from the traditional approach of segmenting your users into different personas.
First, imagine a persona Peter is in his mid 30s in a city in a developed country, works in a bank, is single, introverted and does photography as a hobby over the weekends. Most of this information doesn’t seem particularly relevant to a camera app.
By contrast, in the jobs-to-be-done approach, the focus isn’t on who users are; it’s on what they’re hiring the product to do. This seems more relevant to the product. As an example, imagine a divorced Indian in her 50s with two children, who works as an interior designer, is extroverted, and lives in a town, who’s a photography enthusiast. From the personas, she seems completely different from Peter, but from the point of view of using a camera app, she probably has more in common with Peter than not. In that sense, personas can be misleading. What we care about is what people are hiring a camera app to do, not age, gender, marital status, race, profession, town vs city, developed vs developing country, introvert vs extrovert…
Second, the jobs-to-be-done approach also avoids the problem of making up personas, as I did above. Yes, personas should ideally derive from thorough research, but in practice, we don’t often have the time for that. The jobs-to-be-done framework seems more lightweight.
Third, the same user might also hire the product to do different jobs on different occasions, like a professional photographer going on a vacation.
This is why the jobs-to-be-done framework seems more useful than personas.