Direkt zum Hauptbereich

Drill? Hole? Picture on the wall? The Principle of Jobs To Be Done (JTBD)

Provide what customers want and how they need it. The decisive success factor. And yet often out of focus. How to deal with that? The best way: Everyone in your company is to turn their attention to the customer. Jobs-to-be-done could be a great help for you.

Eine deutsche Version findet sich hier.

Ordered and delivered immediately - we've gotten used to it by now. Only rarely are we reminded of the (good?) old days when things were different. And so it's all over town by now: We are currently changing at breakneck speed from an industrial society of mass production to an industrialized service society. Everyone already has a very concrete idea of what that means - after all, we are modern, well-behaved and eager internet consumers with good and bad experiences. Nevertheless and surprisingly, once again it is shown that it takes a long time for mass knowledge from individuals to find its way into our organizations and institutions.


This isn't necessarily a bad thing. After all, you don't have to go along with every fashion. In general, it is even intelligent not to fall into fashionable actionism and ask instead: "Why change something? What in fact?" - Yes, why change anything about the way we work together? Or how we look at and run our business? Long before the internet age, there was an answer to these smart questions: Because people want satisfactory results. And they want them without hassle. The economist Theodore Levitt summarized this simple truth in his famous saying: "People don't want to buy a drill. They want a hole in the wall."/1/ This true finding should not have changed since then. But, again, if this has always been the case: Why should we change? Was it not good enough up to now?

The Main Thing: Black

Despite all the lamenting about competition: producers, trade, politics and public services have had a remarkably free hand in what they do over the last 150 years. This is particularly true when it comes to dealing with consumers. They had a very broad power of supply, and they did not hesitate to play it off mercilessly. Even if they wanted to understand that their customers and clients would rather buy a hole IN, or better still, the picture ON the wall - the drill was on offer. So it was sold. "You want a picture on the wall? You're not getting one." This unappreciative, uncooperative, customer-unfriendly approach was (and still is) rich in tradition. This tradition was and is very well illustrated by the legendary saying of the father of mass production, Henry Ford: "Every buyer can have a car in any color he wants. As long as it is black."/2/


Today, it is no longer so easy to fob off customers in this way. Why? Because today there is far-reaching information and market transparency. Today, networking business models are possible. Today, these business models can be digitally optimized and secured by algorithms. Today, consumers (us!) have more and more freedom and choice, with which partners, which products, which (digitalized) services we want to try to achieve what we are aiming at./3/ Especially when new, smart competitors appear on the market who have understood that the wind is blowing completely differently today, this naturally puts pressure on established organizations and institutions. Including those, we work for ourselves!

Algorithm Says Hello

So it makes sense to rethink all our activities in these organizations quickly: Unlike in the days of Henry Ford, today it is above all (!) a matter of knowing the customer and his or her wishes, offering the appropriate services and: delivering reliably (!). It is about analyzing (Data! Data! Data!), learning and, this time, really working together with the customer.


Those who have had this insight can easily despair of the inertia of their own company. ("Why on earth doesn't anyone realize that something urgently needs to change fundamentally?!") Despair is unpleasant and usually it serves little purpose. Let us therefore turn to more constructive things. For example, how we can shake up, inspire and motivate our colleagues in the team, department, organization, company: Come on, let's walk real service-oriented paths!

Service! Ok, but... HOW?!

Let "Jobs-To-Be-Done" (JTBD) help you. This framework has its origin (as often) in design, but it can easily be transferred to any other area. Yes, even to entire organizations. JTBD is all about thinking and deciding consistently from the customer's perspective and his/her needs. Opposing to the thinking of products, services and activities of one's organization. Accordingly, JTBD is based on principles that turn our organizational mindsets quite upside down, e.g.:

  • People only want our services and products to solve their own tasks and not to deal with us or our organization. (Ouch!)
  • People are always (!) interested in doing more things faster and/or with less hassle.

Starting from basic assumptions like this, in a very structured way, JTBD finds out what this means for the services, products and logistics to be offered. And for the entire value-adding (equals satisfying) process between customer and service provider or producer. From start to finish. It is all about the question: What exactly do customers want to have done? When? How? With whom? Why? To find out, JTBD takes a closer look at a few essential points:

  1. Who actually does the job or is responsible for it? Are several people involved? Who is involved? How? When?
  2. What is the actual job? Is it just one job? Or are there also preparing, adjoining measures to be considered? (JTBD, by the way, explicitly looks at so-called emotional jobs. This might seem revolutionary to us. After all, we are very much in love with processes and engineering, aren't we?)
  3. How is the job done? What are the steps, what is the process, what is the technology being used? (Ah, finally!)
  4. What true (!) needs are behind every (!) job and its detailed steps?

Because the procedure is very structured and understandable, the framework is well suited for process-driven organizations (All of us! Us! Us!). In a practical way, this directs us to always first consider the needs of customers and clients as a basis for decision-making. Thus, the culture becomes more and more customer-oriented over time. And ultimately, of course, the range of products and services on offer, which certainly is a good precondition for playing a leading role in a game in which you have already seen yourself the losing team.


Most of us know that nowadays it is a real business need to finally care for the customer. Because most of us have (too) often been frustrated and misunderstood customers (or citizens or employees or ...) ourselves. On the one hand. On the other, most of us have had a lot of good experiences with companies which are interested in the client’s needs. So, most of us know that today it really is about people and their affairs. In other words: Most of us know that if we don't take this seriously, we won't be successful in the foreseeable future. So we have a job to do. Let's do it!


Here you can find all articles by Edgar Rodehack.

PS: Thank you very much, Sebastian Moss, for the reference to JTBD. It definitely has added a very effective tool to my toolbox.


  •  /1/ The attribution is not completely clear, see: https://quoteinvestigator.com/2019/03/23/drill/
  •  /2/ https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Ford
  •  /3/ That at least seems to be the case.But we should wait a little longer until we celebrate this.  Because whether this is a rather good or rather bad development can probably only be judged with a few decades' delay.


  • Christensen, Clayton M.: The Innovator's Dilemma. When Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail. Boston, 1998.
  • Kalbach, Jim: The Jobs To Be Done Playbook. Align Your Markets, Organizations, and Strategy Around Customer Needs. New York, 2020.
Edgars eigener Blog: www.trellisterium.de
Edgars Podcast: trellisterium.podbean.com 

Edgar Rodehack ist Teamwork-Enthusiast mit einem Faible für agile Formen der Zusammenarbeit. Da trifft es sich natürlich gut, dass er das beruflich macht. Er ist Organisationsberater, Business und Agile Coach, Teamentwickler und Moderator. Außerdem ist er ein Mensch mit Frau und drei Kindern, der viel Spaß am Musikmachen, Schreiben und Lesen hat. Mehr über ihn: www.rodehack.de




Beliebte Posts aus diesem Blog

Outlook-Aufgabenliste: bitte nicht die Aufgaben des ganzen Teams!

Am Tag der Arbeit kommt eine Lösung, nach der ich schon so oft gefragt wurde: Wie schaffe ich es, dass meine Outlook-Aufgabenliste nur meine eigenen Aufgaben anzeigt und nicht auch die E-Mails, die meine Kollegen gekennzeichnet haben oder Aufgaben, die einfach in einem gemeinsamen Postfach stehen?

Kategorien in Outlook - für das Team nutzen

Kennen Sie die Kategorien in Outlook? Nutzen Sie diese? Wenn ja wofür? Wenn ich diese Fragen im Seminar stelle, sehe ich oft hochgezogene Augenbrauen. Kaum jemand weiß, was man eigentlich mit diesen Kategorien machen kann und wofür sie nützlich sind. Dieser Blogartikel stellt sie Ihnen vor.

Das Ubongo Flow Game

Spiele bieten eine gute Gelegenheit, zeitliche Erfahrungen zu verdichten und gemeinsam zu lernen. Karl Scotland und Sallyann Freudenberg haben im Mai 2014 das Lego Flow Game veröffentlicht. Wir haben die Spielidee übernommen, aber das Spielmaterial gewechselt. Statt Legosteinen benutzen wir Material aus Grzegorz Rejchtmans Ubongo-Spiel. Hier präsentieren wir die Anleitung für das Ubongo Flow Game.

E-Mail-Vorlagen gemeinsam nutzen (Outlook)

Mittlerweile wird praktisch alle Routine-Korrespondenz in Outlook erledigt. Was liegt da näher, als ein gutes Set von Vorlagen zu erstellen und diese gemeinsam in Team zu nutzen? Leider hat Microsoft vor diesen – an sich simplen – Wunsch einige Hürden gebaut.

OneNote Prinzipien: Zugriffsrechte und Speicherorte

OneNote ist praktisch – ohne jeden Zweifel. OneNote ist auch einfach und intuitiv zu bedienen… Ja… so am Anfang. Doch früher oder später kommen Fragen wie: - wer genau hat eigentlich wie Zugriff auf die Daten? Wie ist das mit Synchronisation zwischen Büro-PC und Smartphone oder iPad? Wie funktioniert OneNote auf dem SharePoint? Auf diese Fragen findet sich die Antwort nicht ganz so leicht. Ich versuche hier die nicht ganz so offensichtlichen Zusammenhänge deutlich zu machen und "gern genommene" Fallen zeigen.

Protokolle in OneNote - neue Ideen für's neue Jahr

Protokolliert Ihr Team seine Besprechungen in OneNote? Das geht einfach, schnell ist teamfähig und hat eine exzellente Suchfunktion. Die beliebte Fragen "Wann haben wir eigentlich beschlossen, dass..." ist so schnell beantwortet. Darum wird OneNote an dieser Stelle immer beliebter. In meinen Seminaren dazu sind gute Ideen entstanden, die ich hier weitergeben will.

Leitlinien-Werkstatt für Microsoft-Teams

Mittlerweile hat Microsoft Teams in sehr vielen Unternehmen einen Platz gefunden. Es bedient den Wunsch nach schneller Kommunikation und gemeinsamer Datei-Bearbeitung. Und spart damit Zeit und unnötige Prozessschleifen. Oder? 

Beispiel für eine Partyplanung mit Scrum

Wer sich neu mit Scrum beschäftigt, ist vielleicht überwältigt von den ganzen Fachbegriffen. Dann sieht man vielleicht gar nicht, wie einfach die einzelnen Elemente von Scrum sind. Deshalb hier ein einfaches Beispiel für die Vorbereitung einer Party mit Hilfe von Scrum.

Die Krankheit des Besser-Wissens! Drei powervolle Fragetechniken und eine Haltung zur Heilung.

Kennst Du das: Du betrittst einen Raum und bist Teil einer Situation, hörst eine Problembeschreibung, siehst eine Aufgabe oder liest eine Anfrage. Auf jeden Fall weisst Du mit einem Blick, einem Satz, einem Augenzwinkern sofort Bescheid. Du weisst: um was es geht was das Problem ist wieso das passiert ist was als Nächstes passiert und oft auch was dann (nicht) zu tun ist So wie mit dem Video hier: Ziemlich klar oder? Was für Gedanken gehen Dir durch den Kopf? Vielleicht sowas wie Oh weh!, Unfall!,  gibts Verletzte?  Oder Gehts denen gut? Wo ist das passiert? Viel Spass beim Flottmachen! Etc, etc... Auf jeden Fall aber: Was für ein Malheur! - oder irgend etwas Anderes in der Art. oder? Anderes Beispiel. Schau Dir mal folgendes Bild an und les im Geiste die beiden Reihen vor: A-B-C 12-13-14 oder? Unser Geist beruft sich auf sein Wissen und gibt uns in sekundenschnelle seine Annahme, seine Interpretation, seine Projektion der Wirklichkeit ein. Und die ist in dem Video oben nunmal ein ve

Nur was sichtbar ist, kann gemanagt werden

Ihr steckt fest? Langsam wird’s brenzlig? Ihr wisst nicht so recht, was tun? Kleiner Tipp: Nur was sichtbar ist, kann gemanagt werden.