@October 10, 2021
The most common myth about JTBD has to do with time
When I speak with people who are new to JTBD, some are excited to use it to solve a painful problem. Others are skeptical that JTBD can solve any problem at all.
I've observed that each group of new JTBDers tend to draw their initial excitement or disdain from the same misnomer.
Myth: JTBD is about validating assumptions and confirming what to do in the future.
Novice champions of JTBD often say something like:
"I've been talking to people internally and looking at our features, so I have a pretty good list of what the jobs are. I know I can't just use my opinion, so I want to run a study to confirm my hunches before we start building"
Novice skeptics of JTBD often say something like:
"I don't know about this so-called research, seems to me it's just biased people running these studies to confirm their own opinions."
Both groups latch onto a myth that JTBD is about coming up with an idea on your own, then going out to confirm it with customers. One group uses this myth to support their own initiatives, the other uses it to reject the premise of JTBD.
Reality: JTBD is about understanding what has already happened in the past to kickstart a new strategy for the future.
JTBD interviews are about asking customers about what has already happened.
We don't try to understand whether a feature fits in a roadmap because we ask about what we built yesterday, not what we might build tomorrow.
We can form opinions or biases and guess about why customers choose our product all we want, but we are almost always wrong.
So we ask customers what they've done already, when they did it, and what it felt like. We use those inputs to form an empirical understanding of our customers' job stories. And we use that new understanding to kickstart new conversations where both champions and skeptics say:
"Oh okay now I know what features we should be building, what problems we should be solving, and how we can all get aligned and working in the same direction."