Jobs are crucial to your product design. What the heck are jobs? Well, they’re basically what someone is wanting to do or accomplish. Think about vacuuming the house for a moment. The job isn’t to vacuum. The job is to clean the house. Vacuuming is just one way to do it.

Obviously, when you’re designing or innovating a product, you’ll need to come up with your value proposition. This tells customers why they should do business with you and buy your sweet, sweet, product and focuses the team on delivering something that nails the value prop.

At this point, we start linking in the jobs-to-be-done concept.  

What is the jobs-to-be-done concept?

It’s pretty much exactly what it says on the tin - it refers to, well, the jobs that need to be done by your customer. As such, we can look back to the opening paragraph of this killer article; jobs are things that your customer is trying to solve or complete.

In essence, the jobs-to-be-done concept revolves around figuring out the jobs that your customers prioritise the most and making them part of your value proposition. To do this, we use Strategyzer's Value Proposition Design Canvas to get a complete picture.

Strategyzer's Customer Value Proposition Design

Basically, this is a tool that lets you visualize and test how you create value for your customers. There are two main parts to it, but the one we want to focus on is the customer profile.

Effectively, you create this profile by figuring out what jobs need to be done, then highlighting the negative outcomes they hope to avoid as well as the positive outcomes they’re looking for.

So, this all begs the question, how do you add jobs to your customer value proposition? Well, it’s much easier than you think!

Identify the various job types

Jobs come in all shapes and sizes. So, before you dive into your value proposition, you’ve got to identify the multiple types of jobs that your customers might look to get done. This includes the following:

● Functional Jobs: Pretty much any situation where your customer needs to do a specific task. For example, figuring out how they get from A to B - that’s functional!

● Social Jobs: These jobs are all about how your customer wants to be perceived. They include various things that make your customers look good or improve their social status. An example of this is trying to impress colleagues.

● Emotional Jobs: An emotional job describes your customers looking to gain some sort of feeling from the task. For example, they do something to make them feel happy or secure.

Still with us? Great! At this stage, you can start thinking about all the various jobs-to-be-done for each of your customer profiles. The reason all of these types are important is that it lets you think about lots of different jobs that you probably weren’t even considering. Most people only look at functional tasks, but you must incorporate the others as well.

Figure out the pain points for each job

The next part of the Customer Value Proposition framework is figuring out the main pain points for each job. These are adverse outcomes that your customer is hoping to avoid. So, for example, complete and utter failure. That’s a pretty big pain that everyone wishes to avoid.

But, as you look at the jobs-to-be-done, you start realizing that more specific issues exist - such as time constraints, budgets, rival companies, and so on. It’s your job to identify as many of these negative issues as you can. In the end, it helps you add value because you’re aware of what your customer wants to avoid.

Identify the positive outcomes

Lastly, you have the positive outcomes. These are all the things that your customer wants to gain from your product. This includes stuff like concrete results, the benefits of your product, but also things like aspirations and what they hope to achieve in the future.

By now, you should see all the pieces move together and fit perfectly like a line in Tetris. By identifying the jobs that need to be done, you can figure out the main problems your customers face. Alongside this, you also identify what they want to gain. So, you can easily start coming up with a value proposition that ticks all the right boxes. You can frame this proposition to show customers how your product will help them complete their jobs, avoid negative outcomes, and achieve those beautiful positive gains.

But wait, we’re not done yet…

Acknowledging the job significance

A crucial aspect of the jobs-to-be-done theory is that not all jobs are equally significant. You’ll see that some of your customer’s jobs are pretty lame. They’re not important, and they don’t really impact their lives. On the other hand, some are hugely significant and are vital to their work.

So, you’ve got to decide which jobs are more important than others. There are three key indicators to consider:

● When the customer can’t satisfy the job, it has grave consequences on their work/life. A quick example is someone failing to complete a task and losing their job, simple.

● When the customer has tried loads of solutions but failed to find a good enough result. So, an excellent example of this is a customer that’s used about 101 different pieces of software, and they’ve all failed to get the results they require.

● When loads of customers all have the same job, and they’re willing to spend lots of money to complete it. This is always a great indication that something is significant! People hate spending money, so if the checkbook is being brought out, then you know it’s essential.

Naturally, you should prioritize the most critical jobs. Don’t focus on adding jobs to your value proposition that don’t really impact your customer. It would be like someone complaining to their doctor that they have a broken leg, and the doctor gives out a prescription for painkillers. Sure, this dulls the pain, but the underlying issue hasn’t been addressed!


To round everything up, the jobs-to-be-done theory is about approaching your customers differently. Start to define your markets around the different jobs that need to be completed. If you do this, then you can create a far more compelling value proposition. Pay attention to the advice given above; identify all the different jobs, find out the pain points, then discover what positive outcomes your customer is after. Focus on the most significant jobs, then design your proposition so you target these jobs and show how you can prevent pains and lead them to excellent outcomes.