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JTBD Research and Product Development

With Jan Milz, Jobs to Be Done Researcher and Product Developer

Jobs to be Done Research Market Research and Product Development

In this episode we dive deep into the topic of Jobs to Be Done and learn about the challenges, good frameworks and misunderstood tools that exist in this area. Our host Peter Rochel, one of the most experienced JTBD practitioners in the German-speaking world, has Jobs to Be Done researcher and product developer Jan Milz as his guest. Together they will give you valuable insights into the world of product development and research and show you how to take products to the next level by applying JTBD methods. Look forward to an inspiring and possibly a little nerdy episode that will help you understand your customers better and thus develop more successful products.

Listen everywhere there are podcasts:

jobs to be done podcast

You can also listen to this episode here on the website:

Here you will find all the chapters of this episode with a time stamp:

00:00:00 Intro
00:02:06 2013 from Value Proposition Canvas to JTBD
00:17:30 Context creates Value – not Features
00:33:24 Hypothesising Research vs Confirming Reserach
00:42:14 The role of mandate clarification
00:49:20 War of the JTBD Righters
01:07:48 The JTBD practical problem with the transfer
01:12:42 JTBD Retreat
01:19:00 Context makes the Value Proposition Canvas
01:24:14 Get Out

About JTBD Research and Product Development

The integration of jobs-to-be-done (JTBD) research (in the sense of market and marketing research) into the product development process is an exciting and promising development. Companies that use this method can not only remain competitive, but also develop innovative products that meet their customers’ needs.

The idea behind JTBD Research

The idea behind JTBD is simple: customers buy products to do a specific goal or job. By understanding the needs of the customer and identifying the jobs they need done, a company can develop products that meet those needs and get the job done optimally. JTBD research enables companies to develop products that focus on the specific needs of their customers and thus achieve better results and higher customer satisfaction.

Significantly higher product success through JTBD

Another advantage of JTBD research is that it has a higher success rate in product development. When companies base their product development on assumptions or guesswork, there is a higher risk that the final product will not meet the needs of customers. By using JTBD research, companies can ensure that they develop products that actually meet a need.

Example: Apple and the iPod

One example is Apple’s iPod. Apple did not invent the concept of the MP3 player, but they have understood the job of enjoying music better than their competitors. Apple has put the focus on the user’s goal, which is to listen to music, and designed a product that is simple and easy to use to do the job in the best possible way. The iPod became a huge success and changed the way we listen to music.

Overall, the integration of JTBD research into the product development process is an exciting step towards innovative and successful products. Companies that use this method can ensure that their products meet the needs of their customers and thus achieve higher success rates and customer satisfaction.

Here is the full transcript for this episode:


Welcome to Innovate & Upgrade.

My name is Peter Rochel and this is about tools, methods and practice of strategic business development.

It is about Business Model Design, Jobs-to-Be-Done, Purpose and Progress, Exploration, Exploitation, Innovation and Transformation.

Because all of this is inextricably interwoven and determines the future of companies.

In your company too.

Glad to have you with us.

Today it’s about jobs-to-be-done research and, above all, transfer.

That means transfer in the sense of, what will actually become of this research?

How does this actually turn into a better product, better marketing or a better business model?

It’s probably going to be a bit of a nerdy deep dive, I would imagine.

Because my guest today is Jan Milz, a computer scientist, lean product manager and jobs-to-be-done researcher since 2013 and a member of the Oberwasser Consulting team since the beginning of this year.

Hello Jan, have I forgotten something?

Jan: Hi Peter, you’ve got that quite well, you could perhaps have saved yourself the computer scientist.

Peter: It still says so on your LinkedIn profile.

Jan: Yes, that was a long time ago.

Peter: Okay.

Jan: But yes well, I might have a technical background somewhere.

2013 from Value Proposition Canvas to JTBD

Peter: Yeah, tell me, how did you get into jobs-to-be-<

What happened in your life in 2013 that this suddenly came up for you?

Jan: Good question.

That was at Xing back then.

I had once made a foray into permanent employment, so after I had started to become self-employed in the early 2000s, during my studies, I came at some point along my path of all the freelancing and what I was doing at the time, to the opportunity to try out permanent employment.

That was at Xing.

I was the product owner for the homepage from 2013 to 2016.

And that’s when we in the team got the nice task of carrying out a so-called discovery.

And yes.

Peter: What is that supposed to be? – What is it?

Jan: Discovery at Xing meant that we would work on a topic for three to six months and then we would be done with it and would be able to justify why certain features or sub-products were now being launched on the platform.

So that was so common, that’s a good thing to do a Discovery before the launch.

And that’s how we were in these processes.

That is, somehow it was common practice there to carry out product discoveries over a longer period of time.

Yes, and that’s when we met in the team, basically it was with Nickel back then (Nickel Blaase, that’s a good friend of mine since then, since we were in the team). And we started to ask ourselves the question, yes, how do we do that now?

We want to find customer benefits somehow, presumably in our Discovery.

And not just do it for a few months now and then launch something, but it should somehow have a hand and a foot and we also want to improve something for our users and customers.

And that’s when the whole jobs-to-be-done thing came to my mind.

And at that time, there was such a thing, I mean, really back then, that was a long time ago.

Ten years ago almost, so pretty much exactly.

There was then a so-called Jobs-to-Be-Done Handbook, written by Bob Moesta and Chris Spiek and, I think, Ervin Fowlkes Jr. or so it was called, was issued.

And that promised guidance, how do you actually do that now?

That’s what we’ve been…

Peter: That was actually the only manual that existed at the time.

So a title like manual, so there were at least a few tools in there and it said roughly sketchily how you could or should use them, I think.

Jan: Exactly, they have, so if I understood correctly, they have….

Bob Moesta has a company called Rewired Group or Rewired…

I don’t even know what they’re called, Corporation or something.

Peter: Yes, Rewired Group, I think.

Jan: And they wrote this manual out of practice, out of their work.

And we just tried to explain to people, yes, how does that work?

So first of all, what is Jobs-to-Be-Done?

And then they introduced frameworks there, like the so-called timeline and the forces model.

And they explained how to conduct such research in the first place. So how does one do interviews? What is the specific questioning technique?

That I just start with the moment of the decision to buy and then ask myself back into the individual purchase story or into the individual story of a subject until I have really understood this story down to the last detail.

We’ll come back to that in a moment, how it all works.

But then we just…

So because you asked, why was this now in my life the moment for Jobs-to-Be-Done?

It was simply…

Yes, we had a certain Struggle.

We were supposed to do a discovery and were looking for helping frameworks to support us in our discovery task of finding customer value.

So, what tools can help us do that here?

Peter: So, very short interruption.

I forgot to make an announcement at the beginning that I really wanted to get rid of, because otherwise it might be too late.

There will be a first Bitcoin Podcast Summit on Saturday 18 March in Leipzig and I will meet with more than ten other Bitcoin podcast hosts from German-speaking countries, i.e. people who produce podcasts that focus on Bitcoin from time to time.

And this is a working meeting for us.

In the evening there will be a big party, which is open to the public, and there we will then produce a live mega-mashup podcast on the topic of Bitcoin with all the hosts present. And of course with a party afterwards.

This party is sold out, but we are allowed to bring two people and invite them to be put on our guest list.

So if you think I’m going to be in Leipzig anyway and I’ve always wanted to be there, then get in touch with us.

It’s first come, first served. That means the first ones who get in touch and say, hey, give it to me, I’m in, I’d like to go there, get in touch with me, And the first ones who come forward, we put them on the guest list.

And now we continue in today’s episode.

That was also the time in 2014 when Value Proposition Design by Alex Osterwalder came out in German. 2013, I think, in English first.

And they have openly experimented with it before.

And I think that was the moment when this term Jobs-to-Be-Done somehow spilled into the mainstream of the UX community.

Was that also related to that or how did that end up on the note at Xing now?

Or did the idea actually come from you?

Jan: So from Xing itself, I’ll say this casually now, had nothing whatsoever to do with the topic of jobs.

At Xing, you can imagine that it was already a big place back then, 500 plus people, and then at some point, while I was there, I think they grew by another 500 or so. I don’t know what it looks like there today.

But it’s a huge apparatus and you have at the bottom, I say in quotes, at the bottom kind of, so that’s where you have the teams and they do the real work.

Then you have an organisation, as you know it.

Basically, it was a classic matrix organisation, without wanting to judge it now.

And in the teams, there was just culture, product management, culture.

And the self-image has always been that we actually solve our own problems in our own team, because Xing has always been divided into so-called dedicated standing teams. And each team was basically responsible for its own product.

That’s why it was also our task to then think about how we do Discovery now.

And before Xing, I came from Business Model Design, so I also did a kind of workshop seminar with Osterwalder, which I think you also told me about, so I knew Business Model Canvas. And I also knew the Value Proposition Canvas kind of like that, but had never used that.

And that was hanging in our room, we had a discovery room in front of the team space, there was another space where the walls, there was a sofa in it, and the walls were covered with colourful stickers.

And that’s where we did our creative work. And there the thing was also hanging on the wall, in fact, the Value Proposition Canvas.

And at that time, yes, it was hanging there, and we also tried to work with it.

And it also says on the right, Customer Jobs, with the S.

And yes, the relationship between one and the other has never really become clear to me in all these years.

Although I think Osterwalder and the ReWired people actually did a workshop together back then.

There’s a Switch workshop or something.

Peter: Yes, there are also videos from Harvard Business School where Bob is a lecturer, I think, and Alex Osterwalder is sitting in the front row. But these videos also exist of Alex with Clay Christensen. And then again with Toni Ulwick.

Well, he seems to have actually looked at everything. All the flavours of jobs-to-be-done that were around at the time, if that’s even the case, but yeah, it is, it’s all about customer language. And if customers attribute it all to the same thing, then you have to live with it somehow.

Jan: Yes, now back to Xing.

We just took this, this framework, I’ll call it.

And we had that, or I was lucky enough to have a really good researcher in my team at that time as well.

These could be borrowed from the central research laboratory, I would say in inverted commas.

Do you have support?

I need someone to help me in some way.

And then there were basically three of us and we actually tried to conduct these kinds of interviews and tried to describe, yes, on this kind of job level, what do we see here for, yes, let’s say, what do we see here for jobs maybe, for contexts, for use cases, whatever.

So that’s where we tried our hand at it.

Now, looking back, we did job-to-be-done type research, so to speak, but we didn’t ask the question, why did you choose Xing or why did you buy Xing perhaps as a premium member, but rather we took parts of the framework and underneath it tried again to actually understand usage.

That is, today I would say that this was not a valid, in quotes, valid JTBD research at all.

It was more like, what methods do we have that can help us in our discovery?

So we took that and we also tried the Value Proposition Canvas.

But in the end it hung on the wall and there it hung longer.

Peter: I know so many workshop rooms and rooms where this thing hangs.

Here it also hung, in my office it also hung for a long time, always new, but to my own things it really hung there for many years as a static poster instead of a dynamic tool for product development or service development, or whatever.

One could hardly use it.

Jan: But we always had one back then, which is what fascinated me about it from the beginning, from the beginning, and I honestly tried to find that quote again.

Maybe you know this. Maybe it was also from us.

We always had a mantra like that back then, uncover the job and the solution is obvious oder gets obvious.

Peter: Yes, yes, yes.

Exactly, that’s, I don’t know if it goes back to actually a quote by Albert Einstein, who is supposed to have once said that if I have one hour to save the world, then I take 55 minutes to analyse the problem and then the solution becomes obvious.

It may be that it has somehow been adapted from the context.

Jan: Yes, there’s also something like this, if I’m supposed to cut down a tree, I first sharpen the axe for 50 minutes and then I cut down the tree for ten minutes or so.

Peter: Yes, these are platitudes that everyone would probably just agree to without being asked and just nod off.

But then doing is more blatant than just wanting.

Jan: Exactly, for me it was like that at the time, it was a bit of a mini-enlightenment.

Hey, if I have understood this job, and for me that actually doesn’t have so much to do with how much effort I put into it, but rather the problem of the product manager is always to design the right solution, I would say so, or to be responsible for it.

And then it was just features that we shipped.

And so home page, I don’t know, two million active users every day or so, so kind of a big responsibility.

I wanted to ship the right features and not just anything.

And then came this promise that if I understood this so-called job, then I wouldn’t even have to think about this solution so much, because it actually results from what the jobs-to-be-done research delivers.

Peter: We can go straight to that beautiful drill-hole example that is used again and again. If, after your jobs-to-be-done research as a manufacturer of drills, you find out that you are actually in the business of living more beautifully or hanging pictures, the question arises: yes, great information, but how do I make a better drill from this information? What am I going to do with it?

Or do you think I’m playing a bit on this level of abstraction, where jobs often hover very far above reality and no one really knows what exactly to do with them?

Or do you mean something else?

Jan: Well, that’s, yes, well, for example, I also bought some Tesa adhesive hooks.

And I find that such a good example of an obvious solution for now this example, I want to hang a picture on the wall.

If I stay on the level, of course, that is yes, so this descending into the human psyche, I say so, so what do you want to achieve, is important for you or maybe even for others, there I can go quite deep from the drill.

I can then, at some point, come to, yes, picture on the wall.

And in our case, for example, there is this Samsung The Frame, which is the next best thing.

I don’t know if you know that one, that TV, do you know that one?

Peter: Nah, doesn’t ring a bell.

Jan: That’s a TV, it’s a picture frame at the same time.

Peter: Oh, yes, yes, yes.

Jan: So it looks like a picture frame, so supposed guests can’t tell the difference.

And he can then depict pictorial art by, I don’t know, Da Vinci or something, as a picture.

And then you go from the drill to the picture, to the TV, and then I get into a story like I kind of want to expose my kids to art or something.

Or I want to present myself as something to the neighbours.

Then I can go relatively far from the drill into people’s motivational levels.

What do they actually want to achieve in their lives?

Peter: Yes, and then people like me come along who then, or Eckhart, who then say, yes, but you know, please remember, every job has countless different possible solutions to do it better or worse.

And each solution always does several jobs at the same time.

You have the next problem of choice.

What am I going to do with the research?

So what do I make of this?

Jan: Exactly, but back then, well, that’s really, well, that’s now, to conclude with Xing, that’s really a very, very long time ago.

It was just a first use of the framework.

And for me it was essential from then on, I knew, okay, Jobs to Be Done means 100 per cent customer centricity.

Throughout history, since I’ve been a product manager, that’s been my path anyway. So I think relatively little of the provider perspective.

Context creates Value – not Features

Peter: Why? So would you like to justify that briefly?

I totally go along with that. I have very, very clear opinions on this and I think I can explain to any entrepreneur in three seconds why this is so.

How did you come up with this? What is your reason?

Jan: I always knew that. I have always felt it.

For me, this basically became clearer again when Bob Moesta wrote this book Demand-Side-Sales one, two, three years ago now, I don’t even remember.

And he again made a clear distinction between the demand side and the supply side and also described the gap in between, that what companies offer is not necessarily what customers want.

We have actually known this since Peter Drucker wrote it down in 1964.

For me, the essential reason is that customer benefit only ever arises in a context.

So if I have any, so the quote is, context creates value.

It’s also by Bob Moesta.

That is, if I am in a context and somehow need something, then a product fits into my context.

And only then does customer benefit emerge.

This means that the offering side never knows when or is not responsible for when customer benefits arise.

It can’t be, because it doesn’t know in which contexts it could fit.

If it simply offers products in a market from a supplier perspective.

Peter: Christensen and Michael E. Raynor have already written this in The Innovator’s Solution.

That was the second book, which came after Innovator’s Dilemma.

That’s where the quote comes from.

The critical unit of analysis is the circumstances and not the customer.

So it’s not about socio-demographic data of customers to understand.

On the one hand, but it is about understanding this context precisely.

The circumstances in which people need a solution or commission a product.

Jan: Exactly, and the supplier’s point of view is, I build a Segway and offer this Segway at a market.

And then it may just be that there are contexts where this product provides Segway benefits.

But it is also possible that this is not the case.

And that, to me, is basically an example of pure provider thinking.

Peter: It’s one of the most spectacular innovation failures ever.

So it was thought of as the individual mobility solution of the future, how people will move in the future.

What it has become is a toy for people with too much money and free time for the day, who now play hockey on it. And what sightseeing in foreign cities.

Jan: The problem is that the Segway, that’s also a question that always comes up with jobs, what is actually the competitive situation?

Because you said one product can fulfil many jobs and one job can be fulfilled by many products.

If you take the latter, then the Segway is probably competing with walking and just has the problem that it can’t do stairs.

Peter: We had one of those things in the company, had one and used it for fairs, where we then drove around with it at fairs.

That was actually promotionally effective.

Every now and then, I got carried away and took it to the supermarket during my lunch break to get something to eat.

I have rarely felt so stupid as I did on that thing during that one lunch break.

Jan: I think George Bush laid down there once, didn’t feel too great about it either.

Peter: That’s on top of it.

Sandy soil has been life-threatening on these things.

I don’t know how they’ve sorted it out with the software today.

But now they’re driving around on one wheel.

Jan: If I go back there now, context creates value.

In what context is the Segway useful?

From the point of view, I want to be mobile in the city or something, there was no such context.

Today, the others solve it, these scooters like Bird or whatever, they solve it much better.

But the thing was of no use in this context.

That’s why it’s like, this provider view doesn’t make that much sense to me.

By and large, we always want to create a cycle like this.

Provider create value, but he also wants to capture it again in the direction of business results or something. There must be some kind of circular relationship.

Nikkel and I had partnership back then, we sometimes called it.

We create benefits for the so-called value partner.

And the value partner gives something back to us, for example money, data or whatever.

And the whole thing, however, is somehow a kind of eye-to-eye circular relationship.

But it is always from the demand side, it is basically controlled.

Because as a provider I can never determine what benefit is. That is simply not possible.

And that’s why you come from the demand side.

And when you have understood that, then you design the solution.

I simply start completely differently than a company that says on the supplier side, I’m now inventing this Segway.

Peter: What else plays into it, which I found exciting, Bob also said again the other day.

For your information, if you are interested in exactly how this came about in the first place, Jobs-to-Be-Done.

We have a podcast episode with Bob Moesta where we also discuss the history with him of how Jobs-to-Be-Done came about in the first place.

If you like to listen to it, I think it’s the only episode we did completely in English, except for the intro.

But to come back to that, to the issue of demand.

Bob also said, and that was another point for me where I thought, yes, of course, that’s right.

You can’t create Demand.

Demand is there and you may discover it, but you cannot create it.

And either it exists or it doesn’t.

And that’s what we have to find out.

And then to match how I can meet these requirements from the customer side, with which solutions can I actually serve them?

So what does the requirement actually look like?

Because even a Jobs-to-Be-Done Research doesn’t tell you exactly how to build a solution. He only says what the target definition is, what it looks like with the customer, if it is good.

He doesn’t explain how you get there at first.

Jan: He also says then, build it and they will come. It’s a lie.

I know it too.

I have been responsible for countless features or sub-products.

And I know exactly that it doesn’t work like that.

Peter: That’s very self-critical.

What are you…

Jan: Remove a feature from Xing.

Have fun with it.

Peter: We have never done it like this before.

Where are we going with this?

Jan: Where I once experienced that, well.

I have also worked with certain…

So, for example, even in the Xing time, there were certainly many things, yes, deployed, let’s say so, that perhaps didn’t necessarily have proven customer benefits now or that I would have derived from the demand side.

But that was also a long time ago.

And it’s hard too.

It is indeed very difficult.

Peter: What happened next?

And how did you then get into more intensive Jobs-to-Be-Done research?

You told a bit about it, so it sounded to me as if you had fallen into a bit of a rabbit hole. Where you said you found something that fascinates you very much, that makes total sense.

And yet there has always remained such a struggle, with a somewhat bitter aftertaste in that you then made an observation about yourself and also about others that often led to frustration.

Would you like to elaborate on that?

Jan: So I also had this, there is also a video course where the three people who wrote the manual explain it more or less professionally filmed.

I got that right then and there and actually got down quite a bit.

But then I also conducted sample interviews myself, i.e. in a private setting, and made sure that I improved this technique somehow.

Then the issue parked for a few years.

After Xing, I was still a product owner, maybe for two or three years in some app. Or then I had done a lot of search engine optimisation, was kind of off somewhere else.

And then it came about that I, also together with Nikkel, that we could distinguish two basic things from this, from product management, if you like. So once the topic of execution and the topic of perhaps discovery.

And so execution means I have an existing backlog and I work my way from iteration to iteration building features, features, features. That’s how I broke away from it.

And we tended to go into these early phases of product development and offered a discovery workshop.

We have that one, yeah, I don’t even know anymore, so that must be like 2018, 2019 maybe, 17, 18, 19 kind of thing. So we have offered this in-house.

We went to companies somewhere as trainers and explained or tried to explain how to do a product discovery, which we also offered to the public.

And that’s when I started to actually accept or acquire research projects as a freelancer.

That is, I was then in my freelance, so after Xing I was a freelancer again and have been ever since. That is, I am always requested in, yes, projects like that and then booked.

That is, I am always requested in, yes, projects like that and then booked.

And then I increasingly took on the role of researcher.

So the person who then actually does real interviews.

What I did before, well, and there I am, I’ll say that again, I’m just an amateur researcher.

There are also professional researchers.

But we come more from the pragmatic point of view that we say we prefer to do the research ourselves. Maybe we only do it 80 or 70 per cent really well professionally.

For this, we can actually apply everything we have heard.

In contrast, when I buy research, it may be 100 per cent good, but I can actually only apply 10 per cent.

That is our experience with studies that are procured externally.

And that’s why, since Xing, I decided to do it myself. And then I started practising interviews and got more and more involved in research projects as a freelancer.

And that’s when the topic of jobs-to-be-done came up again, because it had spread somewhere in the world in the meantime.

There were then, or there are today, several different publications on the subject, i.e. different books by different authors.

And that’s how it was with me in my environment, that the topic of jobs-to-be-one was asked for. Can you do that?

And I’m like, yeah, yay, of course I’ll do that.

Had me very, very excited that somehow this exists and that I can actually do this as a freelancer as well.

And then I’ve actually done a lot of projects in the last few years that started out as supposed jobs-to-be-done research.

But it turned out in the end that maybe it wasn’t necessarily the jobs-to-be-done that I had understood it to be at the time at Xing.

Peter: And that means, what exactly is it then?

So what difference was there?

Jan: There were indeed things that were quite classic or quite easy to resolve.

Then someone came and said, can you do jobs-to-be-done research?

Then I looked at it and the test subjects were people who had not made a purchase decision, but were users of a system. And I should explore those, how do they use a system?

And then I classified it for me more as a task analysis or something.

So what do people do with a software system?

And then I said we can do research, but the result is not jobs-to-be-done, it’s a user story map.

And that then helps us as a backlog and decision tool to build the right software, is that what you want?

Then they said, yes, that’s what we want.

So that means first describing the problem in such a way that it is for the team, well, it is always a team that needs research as support.

And first to clarify, what do you need it for now?

But there were also others, and then I could then, I did the research or we did, and in the end a story map came out and that was then also good.

But it was a problem of, I’m short on time and I want, so what’s the 20% software I need to build to get 80% impact? That was the background.

And in my mind, jobs-to-be-done is still, and that’s why we’re talking today, kind of a bigger thing.

So that maybe I can use that word innovation, if I wanted to use it that way, maybe that I can answer that with that. How do I actually do innovation and which ones then at all?

And then I had some projects where neither the clients nor the team knew what to do.

And then this research, these interviews were done. As a rule, we make ten or eight or so.

And then when we came back, often there were two of us, so doing interviews alone I wouldn’t recommend it so much, and ideally in pairs or something. Then we formulated these results Jobs-to-Be-Done artfully.

And then in the organisations, the organisations could do relatively little with it because they didn’t know exactly what to do with these results.

Hypothesis-forming research vs confirmatory research

Peter: How did you recognise that? So how did you notice?

Jan: I recognised this simply by the fact that I had timesheets with Research and that after that the projects simply stopped.

And there were no further timesheets after that and no further commissioning in that area.

And that this whole research and the whole project has been cancelled.

That’s how I recognised it, and I experienced it not only once.

Peter: It is also, well, when you work hypothesis-based, you say, okay, we now have a question or an assumption and are now investigating it with the help of an experiment, for example with a jobs-to-be-done research, where we say, “We believe that A, B, C, and for that we are now talking to ten people”.

And we look at it and at it and we are right in our assumption if.

And it may well be that the assumption has been disproved and that this is why it is being scrapped.

Then you just say, yes, too bad, it was nothing.

But you see another reason why this has been scrapped.

Jan: First of all, I took a very self-critical look at it.

So they were just unresolved mandates in that sense.

For example, I have an example where a Jobs-to-Be-Done Research was actually named as a commission.

And when I went to the working level, I ended up with, it’s like this, at the beginning you recruit people.

That means I often have agencies that help me when things don’t really work in the house or something.

Then I ordered my test subjects, had them all scheduled, the calendar was there, the interviews were there and then we actually wanted to get started.

And then the client said, I’d like to talk again and I’d like to see your interview guide.

Peter: Classic.

Jan: And then it came out in the conversation that I don’t have any guidelines.

And then the client said, we’re not doing that project.

You’re not really a researcher.

And finished the project, so to speak.

And what lies behind that is, after all, the misunderstanding.

One of them, I thought, we are doing hypothesis-forming research.

That is, that is always the basis of Jobs-to-Be-Done for me.

That means I go into interviews exploratively and form hypotheses from them.

I want to understand the job, I don’t know it yet.

That is my basic assumption.

And if I want to explore, then that is the opposite of confirming.

And to confirm would be to test hypotheses.

But I want to create them. So ergo, a guide makes little sense in a hypothesis-forming research. Because if I want to test hypotheses, I need hypotheses first.

I’ll take those into my interview.

There is also the fact that in the user test, for example, which is a very classic confirmatory research, I take hypotheses and try to invalidate them on the basis of a prototype.

In the Jobs-to-Be-Done interview, when I say I want to explore, I just don’t have them. And that was the fundamental misunderstanding between me and the others.

And I think that was not named beforehand either.

I then asked myself, why have we now abandoned the project?

I don’t really understand it.

Peter: I think it’s all right.

So hypothesis-forming in any case, yes.

It is open-ended, yes.

Nevertheless, it is also suitable for refuting or confirming certain hypotheses of one’s own. You should be clear in advance about what you actually want.

What are the own ideas and basic assumptions?

Often this helps to park it away.

What I notice is that most people, especially now in the last three years with our pandemic and all the discussions that have been started, are not at all aware of the difference between qualitative and quantitative market research.

And the qualitative one always clarifies the why, the causality.

Why do people do exactly what they do?

How are these things related to each other?

And the quantitative clarifies how many do what, of what.

And you always need both.

And now, of course, the problem is that when I’m exploring, hypothesising, exploring with a job-to-be-done interview, then of course I also have the challenge, I’m not allowed, so if I want to learn something, I’m not allowed to imply anything.

So everything that goes in the direction of leading questions and the like, out.

Anything that is solution-oriented questions, out.

We have to ask problem-oriented questions and we have to ask fact-based questions.

And that leads to the challenge that you basically can’t create a guide for yourself.

But you have to be clear about exactly what information you need, what kind of information.

And there are already questions for that, but they are the same for all interviews.

More or less.

They don’t vary much now.

Jan: Exactly, so I’m not saying that we don’t have a scaffold or a frame.

It’s just a different one.

A guide is something like, I have a piece of paper in front of me and I go through it.

And at the end, I once had a huge conflict with another researcher, I ended up with eight interviews. And if I ask all the test persons the same questions, then I can compare them.

And then I was supposed to do interviews like that, and then I just didn’t stick to these questions. Then she got really angry because she rightly said that I wouldn’t use her because she didn’t fit into my scheme. But we also want to explore.

So again and again the topic.

And in some of these projects, it was just that they were classic jobs-to-be stories.

So there was someone who bought a product or we were researching bike leasing. And then I simply or naively assumed, okay, we want to find out now that someone is somehow buying an e-bike, for example.

That’s a good example, because I also just bought one myself at some point. What is the job of the e-bike now?

And that’s where I have my framework, which is the timeline that we got from Bob Moesta back then, where he simply renamed phases of the buying process Timeline.

The fact that buying processes take place in phases is not something that the job people have somehow invented.

What they said is that this timeline, as you also just said, just has causal connections.

That means that one step happens after the other, but it doesn’t just happen.

So purchases are not just like that, they also say that there is no such thing as an impulse purchase, but that everything can always be explained causally in each individual story, how did this buying behaviour come about.

And that’s how I approached it.

And then I just ended up with my results here, for example with the e-bike, which is now the job-to-be-done kind of thing that we found out in the different phases.

And great insights.

Now let’s kind of do this and that.

And that was another moment when this disconnect became tangible, because the customer said, “I can’t do anything with this.

That’s kind of conclusive, but we’re in a completely different mood somehow.

A classic is that I have already employed 30 people who have already started programming.

Peter: And don’t you dare say that your result doesn’t match our ideas.

Jan: This is also a classic that I have experienced in the same way. And also a quite, also a really ordered Jobs-to-Be-Done-Research.

At that time it was somehow about electricity providers or something.

So when do I buy or choose which electricity provider?

And then there was just, yes, the people, they have already started.

And I understand your problem, you have quietly hired people and they have to do something.

But why are you coming to the research now?

And there, too, the result is, and that was also, I’ll say, a straight research, so for a first round, if you do eight to ten interviews, then of course you can only deliver results within a certain framework.

But there were also such insights in there. How does it actually come to the decision for certain, what do I know, bicycles, electricity providers, whatever?

What have we found? What is customer language?

What are the events in the timeline that took these people from one stage to the next? So a pretty good package from my point of view.

But it had no connection to reality.

Some have said we’d rather do performance marketing in Google, and we don’t really need your research for that.

And the others said, yes, we are already programming.

Peter: I’m sorry if I’m stepping on the toes of one or the other, but this is the most stupid nonsense of all.

So you can do it that way, it’s just shit.

So performance marketing, do it.

If you have a working process, then that certainly brings something.

In any case, it is always the most expensive variant of what is reasonably feasible with the resources available.

Most of the time, that is money.

And jobs-to-be-done research can of course also help to expand this completely.

We also have some really great examples of this.

Here, with the example of yoga mats with Stephan Hück from Mantrafant, we have also very impressively highlighted in the podcast what is actually possible with them.

The role of mandate clarification

At this point, of course, I know that, but of course that is always a question of clarifying the assignment in advance.

So what is this all about?

And when they do, of course they often have things that have already been started.

And in the end, then my job or your job, our job, is helping me sell the product, which I’m already starting to build and don’t want to change, at least a little bit better.

You can do that too, of course.

Jan: And since you just said clarification of the mandate, that is of course the basic problem of my, let’s say negative experiences in the past, is an unclarified mandate, or we also like to call it mandate, because mandate is somehow so, I don’t find the word so great.

On the other hand, I have also managed to make projects fail right at the beginning through very intensive mandate clarification.

That is, if you then ask the question, what do you want with this research?

And that’s what I learned at Xing back then.

There was Britta Ulrich, who is one of the best researchers I know.

She was Head of, I don’t know, Head of Research or something.

In any case, she was the central contact person for product owners.

And she always said, yes, so what is your research question?

And I’m like, yeah, like, what research question?

Yes, why can’t you continue the project without this research?

And then there is silence.

And when you ask clients this question, it can lead them to realise, hmm, maybe we don’t really need the research.

We don’t really know.

That’s why it’s, on the one hand I did the research projects, I didn’t ask, then you end up with this, sometimes this surprise.

And on the other hand, by asking this question, I have managed to nip projects in the bud, so to speak.

And that’s kind of this basic problem, when do I commission a so-called jobs-to-be-done research?

As a customer, do I even know what Jobs-to-Be-Done means?

That is also our big problem with ambiguity these days.

Peter: Yes, I have come to believe that it doesn’t really matter whether the customer knows that or not.

I just have to understand, what does he actually mean by that?

And then clarify for me, can I deliver this or not?

Or maybe I want to deliver that or not?

Jan: And then I have also said in the past, okay, I think you need a different kind of research.

We can do that too.

Nevertheless, this jobs-to-be-done word is actually used in practice today and it is no longer clear what is actually meant by it.

That means you have a, it’s just like with the term MVP or with the term Agile, these are words that we as a product community have somehow screwed up over the years.

If you hire an MVP from me now, that can be completely different than if you go to someone else and say, make me an MVP.

And it’s the same with jobs.

So MVP is enough, I know people who say that’s a sketch of what I’m betting on.

But there are people who say, no, I mean it more literally, a minimum viable product.

But then I have proved Viable somewhere.

That is, I built a product increment in a mini-market, maybe for a few users or so, but actually proved profitability there.

And one is more like the end of a prototypical journey and the other is the beginning.

And now I say, Peter, can you make me an MVP?

So it couldn’t be further apart.

And one says, yes, I’ll do that for you.

But that takes half a year.

And the other one says, like, why six months?

An MVP is just a napkin.

I don’t understand now.

And it’s the same with jobs.

Why don’t you do me a Jobs-to-Be-Done Research?

Yes, which jobs are you talking about now?

Maybe we can go back there for a second…

Peter: Yes, we can do it again…

Jan:I am getting out of the problem that I am actually at the end of my tether, as the researcher who comes into projects, who is often not involved in the clarifying discussions.

That’s also a bit of my problem at this point.

Peter: So you feel like you’re in a place where you can’t really do much except your research.

And that can then fit or not fit.

Or what do you mean by that?

Jan: Was that a leading question?

Peter: Sure. Well done!

JanYes, so I have the problem, I have to clarify again in my work. Actually, you’re booked.

Can you do this and this?

Yeah, sure. And then, at the moment when the project begins, I have to clarify what you want in the first place. And I would have liked to have clarified that beforehand.

Peter: Yes, I know that very well.

I probably got there much earlier, in the sense that I came from a different corner. So it tends to be more from marketing and sales originally.

And maybe through my management studies I had a bit more tools at hand to cast it into such a construct.

So it started with me via distribution and sales and these demand-side sales, as Bob called it many years later.

And I’ve always tried from the beginning to pour something like that into the process.

So from the beginning to the end something is commissioned and happens and it is already clarified what is to become of it.

And then at some point I developed a process where it almost doesn’t matter where you start.

But there’s no getting around the issue of clarifying orders, because that’s exactly what it is.

And that is also in the sense of Jobs-to-Be-Done, in the sense of Jobs as a Progress.

So that is, where is the progress that my client, my customer wants to make and where can I start there.

And if I now have a Jobs-to-Be-Done framework, concept, method, whatever, and an idea of it, then it is for myself, I have noticed, I have my idea of it and I find this concept absolutely fascinating, totally sensible and logical. Starting with the Innovators Dilemma, for which the Jobs-to-Be-Done theory, which is not a scientific theory in the true sense, but a thought construct by Clay Christensen, is a very, very elementary, important basic building block.

And then we developed an interview system that makes it possible to get more or less everything out of one and the same interview that you need for, help me to sell the junk I’m building here anyway, up to, how can I get out the back, once I’ve established that what I have here isn’t really that cool for what customers really want and need and want, to make a better product in the next iteration anyway.

War of the JTBD Rightists

Whether they want that or not is something the customers have to decide for themselves.

And yes, then it came to this, you have already started twice now, that then also in this time, 2015, 16, 17 approximately, at the edge, this jobs-to-be-done war somehow started, for the jobs-to-be-done nerds here, where then the big debate started, what is now, who is actually right now, with his interpretation of jobs-to-be-done, what then came of further difficulties for you? Or what is the difference at all?

That’s from an expert for experts, there used to be this column in Titanic, I don’t know if that means anything to you.

Peter: Yes, there was at some point, I heard that too.

Sonnenborn was still editor-in-chief at the time, I think.

Jan: Yes, this is really the deepest job-to-be-done, I say community, but exactly, at some point a kind of bashing started on Twitter, where one person claimed that I do the right jobs-to-be-done and the other said, no, I do it.

It even went so far that one of them, I think, actually maintained a fake profile where he discredited the other one and so on, so quite badly, it went on for, I know, a year or two.

The people who did that, that’s where it came from, there’s a guy called Alan Klement, or what do I think of him, whether that’s how you pronounce him, Clement?

Peter: Yes, Alan Klement.

Jan: The basic problem that we have, and I believe that this is what drove him, is that we received this handbook in 2014 with a timeline and a forces diagram.

And then we got this course, and that’s all we got, though, as practitioners.

And we have to, want to, somehow then also apply the work practically.

Then we got a value proposition canvas from the other one, and then you sit there and are supposed to do work, product work.

And I think that Alan Klement simply tried to put into practice what Clay and Bob, because he also worked with them, what they meant by that, to make it more applicable.

For himself and perhaps for others.

And then at the same time there was a, yes, you, tell me.

Peter: Yes, I turn up my nose, you can’t hear that now, but I know the background to this whole number, how it started with Alan Klement and for whom he actually did what kind of work.

And what went on in the back room actually only leads me to find this person, although I don’t know him at all, extremely unsympathetic.

Nevertheless, he had some quite good thoughts on the subject out the back.

But that’s a whole other story.

Go on, what, so the attack was then against ODI and the Ulwick faction.

Jan: And then there’s the other one, called Toni Ulwik or Aluwik, I don’t know how he pronounces it.

And he has been doing innovation since, I don’t know, the very beginning, he has established his own innovation process, ODI, Outcome Driven Innovation, and has also written a book about it.

Peter: We’ve already done a podcast episode on this with Martin Pattera, where we looked at this.

Jan: At some point he began to claim that he had invented and coined the term Jobs-to-Be-Done.

And that is a bit of our problem at this point.

And then Klement also, Klement then countered that.

Peter: I guess he didn’t quite, while now, been a bit clumsy about how he did it maybe.

Jan: And while the people who had coined Jobs-to-Be-Done at the time actually stayed completely out of it, Clement somehow picked up on it and then started a kind of argument on Twitter against Toni Ulwik or with Toni Ulwik.

So really unspeakable and quite embarrassing.

But what lies behind this is that one, basically, there are two, I would almost say diametrically opposed, meanings of the term Jobs-to-Be-Done.

And that is, of course, not helpful at all if we then want to do jobs-to-be-done in practice.

Peter: Yes, I’m not so sure that it’s really so different in terms of the overarching meaning.

But what is a very, very glaring difference is the interpretation of the content and how that is then used and processed.

That actually has nothing to do with each other at all, even for me.

Jan: Yes, so where the differences are, we can look again in a moment.

And then people started, and there’s one called Kalbach.

And he in turn wrote a book in which he described these two…

Peter: …product manager at Mural currently, I believe still.

Jan: Where he then somehow compares these two things that are actually not comparable, from my point of view, and builds something third from that, which is then again a kind of practical instruction on how to do it now.

And then I also ask myself, does that help now or later, dear Mr. Kalbach, in a world where we already have these two different currents, why add a third one?

Do I want to be in on this word again somehow, or what?

Or should we write more Jobs-to-Be-Done books and more?

So that’s how it is for me, I can’t get that into my reality at all, how I… So where do I get the idea to take a word, or a concept, that someone once defined and reinterpret it and publish it in a book?

Eric Ries has done that before with the term MVP. And I cannot understand this.

What there…So is that accidents, or what?

The problem is that when books become known and you have more reach than someone else, the supposedly wrong interpretation of such a term spreads and then everyone is confused.

Peter: So I think there are a few things mixed up.

One of the main culprits here is probably the Dunning-Kruger effect, which leads to a kind of delusion. This means that we all then very quickly suddenly become experts, although we have only half understood a thing, if at all.

And when the attraction of finally cashing in on a few minutes of fame, perhaps by earning myself a living as an author, then somehow stuff like that ends up on paper.

I can’t say too much about the content, whether it’s good or bad. I’ve just found most of what’s been written down so far is really hard to use in practice.

So on the one hand, to defend Clay and Bob again, now Competing Against Luck, we’ve been covering that for a long time too and it’s a wonderful book.

But that doesn’t explain how you do it either. But only how great and how beautiful it is.

And they do the same at Harvard Business School. It has already happened several times that they come to us afterwards, come to me, because they want to know exactly how they should do it now. Because that’s not what it says. No one will explain it to you.

And there are two large consultancies that have specialised in this innovation topic with just this heading Jobs to Be Done, but they don’t tell anyone what they are doing.

You can buy it there for a lot of money and then believe in it.

Everything that happens then remains in a kind of black box and naturally fuels speculation.

And everyone who has heard it has an immediate opinion about it, of course.

Jan: So I kind of wish at this point, actually it’s also a question of clarifying the mandate, what do you want to do?

For example, if I now say I want a new market and I take the Business Model Canvas.

I believe that the Business Model Canvas is really, so we can all be thankful that we got that.

For the value proposition canvas, that was more of a disservice from Osterwalder.

That is my personal opinion now.

Peter: I find the book much better than the Business Model Canvas.

Jan: But it’s on some dignities that we say, okay, we have something like customer segments and they describe a part of this business model at the moment.

And I want to say, I want to get into a new market, I want a new customer segment at the level.

Then I can do jobs-to-be-done, I’ll say like we described earlier, in terms of what client job do I apply for or what do people hire me for, so here comes some denglish, what do people hire me for, then that’s a good way to achieve the goal.

If I now say that I actually want to stay in my market and improve my product, then the other Jobs-to-Be-Done story is more suitable, because what Toni Ulwick does, from my point of view, is not meant to be judgmental, but it is more from the supplier’s point of view, that is, he looks much more at what is actually the use of existing products and how can I improve this use of existing products in great detail.

He calls this innovation.

Whereas the other thing is more, I actually look more into the cross-category competition and then think, because actually it’s like you say, if one product has, solves many jobs and one job can be solved by many products and for me, or yes, the more interesting thing is actually, I think, for me it is the latter and there I am clearly with the Bob Moesta story, although I would not, not at all, argue for whether it is a last or a last, but I am of the opinion that some have named jobs and that is just the way it is and if I do something else, then I have to think of another word.

But the train has unfortunately sailed by now.

Peter: Yeah, whatever.

I also think it belongs, it both has its justification, to round it off again, now with the topic of the Ulwick part, they say so themselves, it’s based on Six Sigmawhich is a tool for process optimisation, and they have just expanded that and are then arguing about this term Jobs-to-Be-Done.

And that, of course, is an excellent way to improve what already exists and to find better ways and solutions.

I think it is extremely time-consuming and the cost-benefit factor, I think, even if we see it in a direct comparison, that is completely over-delivered for most people and I rather pursue the approach that we ensure with our framework that we create a data master with one and the same research, which also works very quickly and very efficiently, which then enables you to do everything.

And it is then a selection task to pick out and select the data from this data base that gives you the focus you need to then achieve a concrete goal.

A short-term, medium-term or long-term goal, it can all be done with it.

The short term can also be to iterate a product, to improve it.

It can also be that we invent something completely new here that we didn’t even have in mind, because we suddenly discover things, and that’s exactly what the data tell us, that we wouldn’t have thought of at all or that we find a completely new market; where we suddenly realise that there is a competitive landscape with huge opportunities for us and if we change these three things in our product, then we get completely new stories and do and apply, to stay with this terminology, for a completely different job.

Of course, for this I also need to know exactly what the subjective value standards for improvement are from the customer’s point of view.

So what exactly do I have to deliver so that customers say, hurray, that’s ten times better than what I’ve known here so far?

And what can you also leave out?

And then it doesn’t really matter that much any more.

But now you’ve reported that we have to look at the time a bit, we’ve been at it for almost an hour, you’ve also observed this with others, that then, with this research, irrespective of which job or flavour is now involved, there is rarely a transfer or the customers, clients in the sense for this research, stand there and say, yes, exciting, the data are put in the drawer and then nothing happens.

And that is frustrating at times.

Why is that?

So except for a lack of clarification of the order, perhaps, where it still lies in fields of difficulty.

Jan: Actually, I would have said earlier that I have to take a self-critical look at what I have not delivered so that they say, OK, we are taking action now.

And that is, I think, the point, apart from the mandate, that the applicability of the results, i.e. you can concretely transfer them into perhaps measures or also into new projects, was missing.

We would often come up with a research result like, here, these are Jobs to Be Done, and then we would ask, what do you want to do with them now?

Would you rather have this or that or something?

Of course, we also made suggestions somewhere, but in the end we passed the ball back to the customers a bit.

And they were then from my point of view, or presumably they were somehow with the result, it was not in line with expectations, they were perhaps overwhelmed with it because we had not clarified well beforehand what would come back.

Maybe it was something like, yes, so now a new market, we can’t afford that, it’s all too much, and we actually want marketing somehow, we do it differently anyway, so what should we do with it now?

That’s nice, but we can’t apply it.

And that, I think, is the reason why this transfer cannot take place or has not taken place.

And exactly, then we met somewhere on the internet last year.

Peter: Yes, also through a mutual acquaintance, whom you don’t really know, but he has at least met you, he is also a very, very respected colleague, Florian, who has also been with us in the Clubhouse Talks from time to time.

Jan: Yeah, I was on it a bit in December last year.

I somehow used LinkedIn for the first time somewhere, then I started to meet people there somehow, I don’t know, I posted things, got some likes, then I wrote to people, and that led to several coffee conversations, among others also with you or with Florian.

And I had heard your podcast, and then I thought, okay, so I knew him before anyway, basically this LinkedIn, was more actually in my job-to-be-done time, so the moment, now I’ll write to him.

Actually, I was already passive, even before that, and I always thought, okay, he, I had spoken with Bob a lot, and when I had spoken with Bob and then listened to other podcasts, yours was always one of those, actually very, yes actually very few, where I thought, okay, he speaks the way I understand it somehow.

And I think, from the problem situation, somehow I’m not really getting anywhere in my job-to-be-done research projects, that’s a point now.

Basically, when I reflect on it now, it was a point where I actually said in my own timeline, that’s enough, it can’t go on like this.

I have to change something now so that I can better, successfully apply job-to-be-done research in the future.

Because I find myself in this situation as a freelancer who is mostly uninvolved in the clarification of orders, who then gets involved in these supposed job-to-be-done projects, which are perhaps more Ulwick-like, where I don’t want to work at all because it doesn’t motivate me, where I then get into it, it can’t go on like this, I have to change something, and then I just wrote to Peter Rochel on LinkedIn, and he said, you also do job-to-be-done, and you also have clients, and don’t we want to do it together somehow, and then I had the intention of actually changing something for myself in my acquisition process, and maybe getting someone who solves the problem for me, namely the right or suitable job-to-be-done orders, where I can do what I want to do, and not the problem with the mandate and with the later transfer, because I couldn’t get out of my situation either, I didn’t know how to change that, I didn’t have a solution now, because when I tried to clarify mandates, it always backfired, so I shouldn’t do that, I should rather work, I should, It’s also generally the case that I relatively seldom sell myself, most of the time I’m dependent on a sales network, because I’m always on the working level, it’s hard for me to change perspective so quickly, to go into a C-level perspective, that’s not my thing, I don’t need to do that, I’m supposed to work, so to speak, and the others are supposed to sort out mandates.

Exactly, and so I wrote to you, and then we exchanged ideas, did a bit of sample interviews together in one of your projects, and that’s how we’re sitting here now.

Peter: Exactly, that fitted quite well, and then there was the idea, where you said, you think you’re not alone with this struggle, with this topic, somehow this feeling, somehow so, yes, like so exposed in such a project, and afterwards have the feeling, so actually it’s a bit of a pity that so little happens out of it, and don’t know so exactly, how do you get that translated into better products now, or how to help the people with it, and then we looked at it again and said that we also have a complete process for something like this, how something like this works, where we can also show the people very quickly and very easily and do it with them, and if they do it, then they also get it done, and then we thought, okay, let’s have a look, maybe there are more, who also want to exchange ideas, who also want to learn this, who also want to get to know this process in order to be able to apply it and simply exchange ideas, had this idea of doing a retreat, you can tell us again in a moment what exactly is behind it, I wanted to mention briefly that we also did our own research and found out, yep, there seem to be a few more, But there are also others who don’t have this problem at all, who say that it’s not a problem, that it works for us, but I still want to exchange ideas, even if it’s not our problem, because we now do this ourselves three times a year, and we manage wonderfully to make products out of it, or marketing, or whatever.

What was the idea for the joint project then?

The JTBD practical problem with the transfer

Jan: Yes, exactly, I had you show me what it actually offers, because I came out of history, I’ve actually wanted to do Jobs-to-Be-Done since 2013, and in the meantime I believe that we actually have a problem with practice, a practice problem, theory is always nice and good, and the stories are always easy to tell afterwards, but how do I do it practically myself, and then we did interviews together, in your project, and then I let you show me the process, how do you actually get from interviews to a kind of, I’ll call it synthesis, summary, or what comes out in the end, and the problem with such synthesis processes is, as I know it, that you depend on everyone.

That means I do, and this also used to be the case with the studies at Xing, there are 50 interviews, and at the end you get three slides with some results, and no one understands what they are supposed to be because you didn’t go through the process.

And that’s what I suspected about you, so I was very critical, but then I realised that I had spoken to one of your colleagues who also had an example project, and I had her show it to me, that it was actually condensed.

Peter: Katharina, who has just written her master’s thesis on it, and we’ll see if we get carried away again and write a book.

It actually seems that in research, in literature in general, there seems to be almost no one else who somehow has such a coherent process.

So we haven’t been able to find anything on this so far, which frankly has surprised me a bit.

Jan: Exactly, Katharina asked me, can you help me with the prototyping?

I don’t know how it’s so, yes, exchanged a bit.

And then I just looked at her trial result and surprisingly I could read it.

Peter: Crazy!

Yes, and if you look at that, we often do that today, then Miro or Miro or whatever, if you zoom out a board like that, then it’s extremely much, very, very much individual data that is then condensed at the end, like a funnel like that.

In the end, one thing comes out.

But I could understand what she showed me.

That is, I was able to understand it conclusively without having been involved in the process.

That is exactly the point.

What’s she doing here?

Why is this now customer benefit for this target group?

Why is, so the client language was in there.

She was able to explain to me relatively well what she now wants to do as a next step.

And I was able to go along with this step.

And that is precisely the point.

I was in the perspective of an outsider.

Peter: Maybe a product developer or?

Jan: I was basically in my clients’ perspective.

And then someone comes and says, here, this is the research result.

Do something with it now.

The next step is this.

And I say, okay, that makes sense.

And you don’t just have one next step in your process, but you have several different, really concrete things that you can do with it.

And that was new for me at that point, because until now I either didn’t know exactly what to do myself or it was then a job-to-be-done description.

But that’s just it, a job-to-be-done description is not yet obvious.

Although, it’s clear, this is the job-to-be-done.

Okay, I understand that.

There are people who somewhere, like.

But what does that mean for my business now?

And then I realised, okay, if you now take the Peter Rochel process, and the work remains the same.

It’s always hard and exhausting and we have to get through it.

Interviews are tough and that’s something to talk about.

But in the end it was also worth it because we can then move on.

That is the game changer for me at this point.

And that’s why we thought, okay, let’s see if we can offer this transfer problem again in concrete terms, to help the place.

So all the people who are there somewhere.

Peter: Exactly, to make that clear again.

That’s more of a concern, that’s open.

We are also releasing this process as Creative Commons.

It’s no secret what we’re doing.

So that might be private at the moment, but it’s not secret.

Jan: It doesn’t have to be a secret either, because you can only do it anyway if you’re willing to put the work in.

That’s why it doesn’t make sense to keep it a secret, while others do it anyway, of course.

And then, funnily enough, we both had the idea independently of each other, so I’ve had it for a while too, I don’t know how long you’ve had it.

Peter: At least three years, quite concrete since 2017.

JTBD Retreat

Jan: I’ve also had a kind of product seminar or retreat, or whatever you want to call it, so a kind of mini-conference or something for product people.

On this topic, I have always had it in the back of my mind as well.

And we called it a retreat because it was a cool location and kind of remote.

You also said you were a bit inspired by that one film.

Peter: Under the Volcano, that’s from George Martin Studios here, Beatles producer and Police, Sting, Elton John, I don’t know, the most successful, Dire Straits, that’s right, Mark Knopfler, most successful producer I think there’s ever been.

Jan: In other words, a place where people met and then cleared their heads in the seclusion and in the surrounding nature and then drove the most creative processes there, which then led to the most successful albums in the history of music.

Peter: Until the volcano erupted and flattened the whole studio.

Jan: Exactly, that’s the kind of place we wanted to find.

That is, a place that allows us to do this important work far away from the office and professional life.

Preferably near a natural disaster that will then bury the whole thing in five years.

Peter: Well, okay, then we’ll have to choose another place.

That would be too bad.

Jan: Maybe something about floods.

Then we thought, if we both already had this retreat idea, let’s just offer it.

And that’s where we are now, where we’ve been thinking, we’d like to offer this.

Peter: Exactly, and we are just looking at it now, we already have feedback.

So interest is definitely there.

Of course, it will also be a question of time and place, which has not yet been clarified exactly.

If there’s someone there who listens and says, “I’d like to do that, too, and I can imagine it.

In the end, in terms of cost, it will be similar to our masterclasses at the time.

They were always, I think, around 2,000 euros, we had offered them.

In principle, there is no difference in terms of location.

We have found that the costs don’t really matter whether we do it here in a coworking space, in a conference room or book a room somewhere or whether we book a location far away somewhere.

The only difference is the journey, travel and accommodation.

Of course, we’re not quite clear yet exactly how that will play out in terms of the budget.

But I don’t think it will be more expensive.

I think that would almost be the upper limit at that point for something like that.

And if you’re up for it, just give it a loud shout.

We also have such a feedback function.

In principle, you can also speak to the voicemail directly from the podcast player, send a voice message to the audio track.

There goes that or short message, email or whatever.

Then we have you in mind.

I think it will fill up relatively quickly, that thing.

Jan: And supplier perspective, what do we bring?

Peter: What do we bring along?

So, what we have learned is that many people actually have a struggle.

So not knowing how can they now help their customers translate that into a better product.

So, to stay with the product for the time being.

There is the offer to completely share how we do it, to do it together, to model it.

And finally, everything that is on the menu for us from this whole innovation process, which is also to show, to share, to discuss, to give opportunities, as well as offers, if desired in terms of, how can I improve my interview techniques up to, how do I do an order clarification or, or, or.

The idea, which is not yet fixed, is to do it in a bit more of an unconference format.

That means meeting with like-minded people on the spot, a minimum level should be people who have already had experience with jobs-to-be-done research.

And then to clarify what exactly is needed.

I think we have enough in the case.

Well, in the meantime, I have added up more than 700 customers that we have already accompanied, made happy and supported with parts or complete processes.

So, there’s quite a lot of practice, real-life experience coming together.

And that should be in the devil’s own hands if we don’t get something out of it that is also a real step forward for everyone who goes there.

Plus network, plus location.

Jan: Exactly, and the location is actually personal to me, yes, I have very high standards there.

That means we will also somehow find an adequate place.

It won’t be just any old seminar house, but for me it’s actually part of the offer that it takes place in a really extremely good location, both in terms of the premises and the surrounding nature.

Because I firmly believe that this is the room…

Peter: Extremely good in the sense of inspiring.

Jan: Exactly, that space is simply important for something like that.

And exactly, and what you can now use Jobs to be for, we can perhaps discuss that again.

There are really quite concrete, really very obvious examples where it can become very concrete, even on a small scale.

We don’t need to discuss that in detail again now, but that’s the way it is, everyone can also bring their things.

We can work on our own cases, projects.

We can somehow secure that with NDAs or something, if there are any concerns.

This is really hands on, even at eye level.

We stand for practice.

What we don’t want to do is like giving a lecture at some conference.

We will not do that.

Peter:Preaching from the pulpit.

Jan: But we come from practice and that is how I have always kept it, that we only offer what we ourselves have also found to be good in practice.

Context makes the Value Proposition Canvas

That is, what are we not going to do?

No, fun.

No Value Proposition Canvas.

Peter: Yes, yes, it does play a role.

But the point is, how can we use it so that it really makes sense?

Jan: We can do that again as an appetiser.

So Peter has found a way.

Try whispering the voice a little.

He has found a way to use the Value Proposition Canvas in a meaningful way for the first time, at least in my experience.

I’ve had this thing in x workshops and at some point we banned it.

We don’t do that any more.

It only ever confused.

But now, there is actually from our point of view, there is also a place for the thing.

Peter: As a matter of fact, yes.

Not quite where it is located in the business model, but as a small spoiler, but there is actually a good place for it in another building block.

Is that right?

Peter: Yes, that’s right.

Whereas, where it belongs, it still is.

But there is another place where it also makes sense.

And then what really makes the difference, I think, is what data is on it?

So what exactly needs to go in there now?

I believe that one of the main problems of the value proposition – there are two main problems – is that on the one hand, what I experienced between 2011 and 2015, 16 when I attended countless value proposition design workshops, saw them, organised them myself and did them, right up to the master class with Alex Osterwalder, is that on the right hand side, where the circle is, data is thought up for jobs.

So there’s no evidence, there’s just guesswork and assumptions.

That is one problem.

We’ve done that by putting a jobs-to-be-done research in the front and having really resilient material that goes on there.

And the next problem is that there is usually far too much on it and then nobody knows exactly what to do with it.

And if we reduce that, that’s one of the keys, to really reduce it to the topics that are really absolutely relevant on a daily basis, that also implies clarifying the task, of course, what it is now, what it is in the short, medium or long term, is it about conservation innovation, efficiency or market creation or disruption or something else.

And then to select it in such a way that it fits and then very, very clear requirements for the respective value proposition or value proposition come out of it.

Jan: I would also like to say that the Value Proposition Canvas is often without context.

And that’s when you say, on the other hand, context creates value, then you realise that something doesn’t make sense.

That is, to put this thing into context, that is the task and then I can also fill it meaningfully.

But that’s just it, if you simply use that in the business model as a level lower of value proposition and customer segment and just write everything in there that could somehow match, somehow like that, then it’s just relatively contextless, depending on what the business model looks like.

And that brings us back to the jobs-to-be-done issue, because if I now come up with Tesla, which jobs does Tesla fulfil, and I then have a value proposition canvas and write everything in there, then I have just left the context.

Then I left the context and then the value is no longer explainable and that’s why the thing causes so much confusion, because only through the context can I explain benefit.

But as I said, the promise is, we have solved it.

Peter: It is also just a tool, much more important is how you structure the data from your Jobs-to-Be-Done research.

If you haven’t already done that, then it doesn’t help you to know how to work with a value proposition afterwards.

Jan: Yes, but the problem is, I have seen many people who then make so-called discoveries, in my product circles, and they then take the thing and then, so, that’s the starting point.

There, I’ve harped on it enough now.

Peter: Okay, so again, to pick this up now.

Jan: Now a call to action.

Get Out

PeterSo, if you, dear listeners, are now thinking, cool, I’d also be up for a bit of holiday work, at the same time with a full focus on head-free, innovation and how I can make more out of my jobs-to-be-done research, then this might be just the thing for you.

So, then, briefly hold up the flag, give smoke signals, slide a note under the door, send an e-mail or speak to us on the tape.

Then we’ll put you on the list and add you to the distribution list.

We are just in it too, the same applies here as what we expect for our customers.

It’s not one hundred per cent ready yet.

The next thing we explain is then place and time.

Then make a note of it, and you’ll be added to the email distribution list.

Yes, and that was it. Do you still have famous last words after almost an hour, 25 minutes, Jan?

Jan: I guess whoever has listened up to this point gets an honorary prize anyway. definitely gets a big thank you from me for sticking it out for so long.

Peter: That’s fine, okay.

Yes, that’s it again for this time.

And if you would like to give us feedback because you liked it or maybe not, or you have suggestions or constructive criticism, then why not try out our voicebox?

Just click on it, you will find it in the show notes, call is triggered to the German landline to Cologne, no additional fees.

We would be insanely happy and otherwise, of course, as usual, a five star rating and reviews on Apple Podcasts.

That would be really terrific.

And then hopefully we’ll hear from you again next time.

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