Key Takeaways

When does a consumer have Job to be Done, a Job they are getting Done, or no Job at all? Recognize the difference and you will understand why customers buy, use, and stop using your product. 

  • A customer’s Job to be Done starts when there is a mismatch between how their life is now, and how they want it to be. All they need is to find the right solution to get them from the former, to the latter.
  • A Job is getting Done when a customer finds that solution, and resolves that mismatch.
  • The difference between a customer who leaves because you failed to deliver them progress, and a customer who leaves because they no longer want help making progress.

Episode Transcript

Following is a lightly edited transcript of When Does a Job to be Done Start (and end)?

Alan Klement: A recent churn interview we did brought up some interesting questions about when a JTBD starts, when does someone stop having a JTBD, and when is a Job getting done? In our case, we were doing this interview with an entrepreneur names Andreas. When he first launched his business, he was just using Google Sheets, Google Docs and email to manage his team. He wasn’t completely happy with it, but it was good enough.

That all changed when a friend of his introduced him to Basecamp. Seeing Basecamp in action really opened his eyes. Up until this point, he had assumed that people in a business like his just used Google Docs and email. But when his friend showed him this new way of doing things, he was so excited that he signed up for an account on the train ride home.

So Eric, with that conversation in mind, do you think he had a Job to be Done when he was using email and Google Sheets?

Eric White: I don’t think he had a Job to be Done at that point. I think the better way of describing it would be that he was getting the Job Done. I recall from the interview that he had some dissatisfaction because he was losing track of things, his team wasn’t very good about keeping it up to date. So there was some push and desire for a new product, but it seems to me like he was getting the Job Done. How about you?

Alan Klement: I see it the same way, but I question if he wondered about whether or not there was a better product out there for him. I think the interesting thing we learned in that conversation is he how he just accepted things as they were — you just use Google Sheets and email to manage your company. I don’t agree that he thought there might be a better product out there. In fact, I would say he didn’t think there was anything better out there for him.

Eric White: We agree he was getting the Job Done during that phase. When would you say he had a Job to be Done?

Alan Klement: I would say the Job to be Done started when his friend showed him Basecamp. That was the moment when he was presented with a new way of doing things. And this is so crucial to understand about Jobs to be Done. It’s called Jobs to be Done for a reason. “To be Done” means there is something in the future that I want to “get Done”. I’m struggling right now and I’m hoping in the future that it will be Done. That’s why we have that particular wording. How it relates to Andreas is that he had a Job and he was getting it Done with Sheets. But it turned into a Job to be Done when his friend showed him a new way that was so much better than how he was doing things prior to that moment.

Eric White: It’s almost like that’s when he posted a Job opening in his mind. He had some problems and didn’t think much about them. But as soon as a better way was presented to him, he pursued it. He had enough social proof from his friend’s recommendation that he didn’t try other products. He had a Job to be Done during that brief period of time where he thought there was a better way.

Alan Klement: The other question that we have is, when did he stop having either a Job getting Done or a Job to be Done?

Eric White: He had been so successful in running his business that he was able to sell it. His struggle to manage himself and his team completely went away once his business was acquired. Do you see it the same way?

Alan Klement: Yes. I would that’s when the Job just went away. It was no longer there and he had no more desire to make progress. And that’s important for people out there to be aware of. There are times when people will churn from your product and it has nothing to do with your product not satisfying them or not delivering progress. It could be that you helped them make the progress they wanted, they graduated and, now they are onto something bigger and better.