Curso Job-to-be-done / Jobs to be done theory - Understanding why traditional methods for unconvering customer needs are flawed

Meeting context

  • Scope: Jobs-to-be-done course
  • Study notes by Marcio S Galli
  • Status: Working draft
  • Reference meeting: "a05-940 — minisites — marcio — working drafts — jobs to be done — episode 8 — 841fbb79-81bc-4c9d-8468-3e539b8a42f8 Sunday, January 5⋅11:30 – 11:45am"
  • Parent meeting: "talk — j2bd — Ulwick's book PDF "Job to be done" — Theory - Needs-first approach often flawed Friday, January 3⋅4:15 – 4:30pm"
  • Episode 8
  • Prior 7
  • Next 9

Subject of study

  • Type: Book, PDF
  • Title: Jobs to be Done - Theory to Practice
  • Author: Anthony W. Ulwick
  • Date published: 2016
  • Book PDF:
  • Author: Anthony Ulwick
  • Summary: This section from Ulwick's Jobs to be Done uncovers a situation problem that helps to form the basis, and reason, to the Jobs to be done theory. He showed the problem that customer needs concept was too ambiguous. His view helped me to better understand how entrepreneurs can easily focus in identifying the characteristics of a given customer; as if overly looking at a persona would bring them into thinking what the user would want. I loved to think how entrepreneurs could sort of default to look at their customers attributes as a rhetoric mechanism to suddenly support their supposition claims.
  • Tags: #jtbd #leanstartup #customervoice #customerneeds

Needs-first approach / and reasons why it fails

Over the years, according to Ulwick (p.40), "many methods been utilized to capture customer needs."

  • Focus groups;
  • Personal interviews;
  • Customer visits;
  • Ethnographic, contextual, and observational research methods;
  • VOC - voice of the customer;
  • Lead user analysis;
  • Storytelling.

These are examples of needs-gathering methods, according to Ulwick; yet they don't ensure that customer needs are uncovered. They fail.

Making a case for a common language

  • According to Ulwick (p.41) "a common language for communicating a need does not exist." Which is a major problem for managers working to support innovation.

  • Managers disagreement - on "what a need is" and "how a need should be defined." (P.41)

  • Lack of agreement - about customer needs - that works out well across the company: marketing, sales, development, etc.

Customer need statements - more rigour

Ulwick indicates that customer need statements were ambiguous, lacking defining elements:

  • Structure -

  • Content -

  • Syntax -

Original "Customer Need" concept

Definition - 1991 article, "The Voice of the Customer". Not a clear definition of what "customer own words" means. Some possibilities are:

This approach, focusing in the customer own words, seems to be effective, in part, adding data that is part of the story but the data that it adds, does not contribute in a rigorous approach to lessen variability; it seems to be an idea presented by Ulwick. He uses an analogy that it's like a method that helps to identify ingredients for a chef but does not help in the science of making the actual food - how ingredients could be used.

Intrinsic problem

The attempt to sense what the customer need is listening to the customer potentially incorrect design.

The detection methods fail - can fail when they shift across the following aspects (or purposes?). Aside to properly defining what the following elements are, it seems to relate to the failure in establishing a clear intent for what the method is attempting to capture. For example, when you end up gathering a variety of attributes that represents something about the voice of the customer, but we are failing to know how this something relates to the impact. Ulwick is claiming that many methods are collecting attributes.

  • Customer benefit;
  • Customer value;
  • Statement of a problem;
  • Something else.

Marcio S Galli
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