Mario Cardinal

"The real voyage of discovery consists, not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes" – Marcel Proust

Customers hire something to get a job done

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Last year, after almost two years of effort working on a daily planner, we had to admit we were working on the wrong idea. Since that day, we have focused our efforts on a new vision: the design of a creativity space to team up with others. Although our new idea seems promising, we have no formal proof that we are on the right track. Until recently, I thought I was forced into this very unscientific process of trusting my good fortune and my instincts to compete against luck.

Fortunately, in recent days, I’ve discovered an innovation approach that presents a product not as a set of functionality but rather as a solution that a customer hires to get a job done.

intercom on job-to-be-doneI first became aware of the “Job to be Done” approach through Intercom. In recent months I have subscribed to their blog and recently they have published a book to summarize how they use the approach internally for product management.

competing against luckThis innovation approach is very well documented by Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen in the Wall Street Journal Bestseller: Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice.

“When we buy a product, we essentially ‘hire’ something to get a job done. If it does the job well, when we are confronted with the same job, we hire that same product again. And if the product does a crummy job, we ‘fire’ it and look around for something else we might hire to solve the problem.”

– Clayton Christensen

when coffe and kale competeChristensen’s book is a must read but, in my opinion, the best reading I have found on the subject is the book by Alan Klement: When Coffee and Kale Compete: Become great at making products people will buy. I particularly appreciated how he unifies the “Job to be Done” approach within a system of progress.

Now that I am equipped with a more scientific approach, I will take advantage of the next few weeks to review and validate whether setting up a creativity space to team up with others is always the best idea.

Author: mariocardinal

A long-time agile coach specializing in software architecture, I am the co-founder of Slingboards Lab, a software publisher that is empowering people to get a sense of fulfillment. An experimenter and an entrepreneur, I love to seize the opportunities that emerge from the unexpected. An experienced Scrum practitioner, I have spent more than 20 years designing large-scale information systems. I am the author of the book "Executable Specifications with Scrum". My friends like to describe me as someone who can extract the essence of a complicated situation, sort out the core ideas from the incidental distractions and provide a summary that is easy to understand.

One thought on “Customers hire something to get a job done

  1. Pingback: Customers don’t buy products they buy better versions of themselves | Mario Cardinal

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