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Jobs to be Done: Theory to Practice

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  526 ratings  ·  44 reviews
Why do so many innovation projects fail? What are the root causes of failure? How can they be avoided? Since 1990, Tony Ulwick has pioneered an innovation process that answers these questions. In 1999, Tony introduced Clayton Christensen to the idea that “people have underlying needs or processes in their lives, that they are addressing in some way right now”—an insight th ...more
Kindle Edition, 160 pages
Published October 28th 2016 by IDEA BITE PRESS
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Doug Garnett
Apr 10, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
For perspective, I’m a specialist with innovative products and have spent over 35 years working these topics.

There are a host of problems in this book - starting with a claim of over 80% success based on the tiny number of 21 projects (of which 17 did well). When I recounted this to a research friend of mine, she recommended I immediately abandon the book - because you should NEVER calculate and report stats on a tiny number like 21.

Still, given the current hype around this book and theory of in
Simon Eskildsen
Apr 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
Today’s most popular approaches to innovation fall into one of two types: those that begin with a focus on solutions (or ideas) and those that begin with a focus on customer needs.

That about sums up the book and you can guess where it goes from there. This book is about everything I love and hate about business books: interspersed, great insights, lots of filling, and ridden with not-so-humble showcasing of how incredible this framework and their consultancy are (it would've been more credible i
Jose Papo
Nov 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is the best book on Jobs to be Done since the first Anthony Ulwick book "What Customers Want". I always waiting eagerly for a new edition or new book from Ulwick, as his Outcome Driven Innovation process is the most systematic and clear way to apply JTBD in real life. "What Customers want" was written in 2005 and after that Ulwick wrote many different articles with more steps and evolution of his ODI process. The last book from Clayton Christensen "Competing against Luck" is also good, but ...more
Nick Toumpelis
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you want to follow a more practical approach to Jobs-to-Be-Done theory, backed by a solid process and actual results, this is the book to start with. The process is a bit heavy, and often times more suitable for a big organisation, it can easily by trimmed down to match the needs of a startup looking for product-market fit.

Highly recommended.
Kian Lavi
Feb 24, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020
Everyone at work talks about Jobs to be Done. A coworker finally gave it to me, and I decided to use it as the basis for some big research we were doing at work.

The substance is good, but the book is overkill at 180+ pages. They manage to summarize the whole book into a few pages in the Appendix, and this is honestly all that most patient people need.

The real sell of the book is the stories they tell about working with clients, but it all sounds a bit advertisement-like at some I also feel lik
Tery Spataro
Jan 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
Anthony Ulwick explains a new lens to understand the customers of a product or service. There is strong rigor to the application of quantitative and qualitative research to uncover the process of "the job to be done". The procedure to achieving the findings and developing the strategy initially is lengthy. But once taken there is a greater likelihood of achieving growth.

Entrepreneurs and innovators will benefit from reading Jobs to be Done. Keep in mind this is not a how-to book on the research
Jonathan Hall
Dec 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
A reasonable introduction to the Jobs-to-be-Done theory, and a good reference (especially the last section of the book). But it left me wanting something more concrete, especially as a one-person startup.
Apr 25, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
This book can be summarized as "build things that solve customer needs", which seems like a fairly obvious solution to innovation. Beyond that the book is dry and a marketing tool for the author's company. I didn't get anything out of it. ...more
Michael Graber
Jul 09, 2018 rated it did not like it
Love the method but this book oversells it as a science. In my experience it is a creative endeavor of value creation—part analysis and part hunch. The tone is dry as burned toast.
Paul Stephenson III
Jul 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was part of the journey I've been on for the last few years trying to better understand disruption with the goal of being a better guide and influencer in business technology. Disruption (ie. change, break, create disorder in) is everywhere today. Giant companies have no vaccine to the effects, so people who can better articulate how to defend and attack with it have a leg up in business strategy. They can better explain Why things happen/happened, and they are more likely to notice si ...more
Aug 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Based on my experience in product development in recent years, I found that the hardest part of product development is not from the technical side, but from the design side. Developing a product with high user usage and excellent customer feedback is the goal of all product development teams. Although there are many sound R&D process methodologies, such as Lean or Scrum, they can quickly find problems in development. However, if the product is wrongly designed from the beginning, the streamlined ...more
Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A 2.5, but I read it for work, so I'm rounding down. This text clumsily, self-importantly gets the job done (see what I did there?) in contextualizing outcomes-driven innovation. If your organization is adopting this approach, it's worth a read to better understand the buzzwords folks are tossing around like ODI will save us all. I did like tidbit that innovation could be as simple as reframing messaging, not a product overhaul. I did not like the utter disdain for the art of intuition, or the r ...more
Rick te Molder
Oct 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
I stumbled upon this book after reading Clayton Christensen’s Competing Against Luck. If with this book you hope to find a read on innovation and Jobs-to-be-done as engaging as Christensen’s, yet more practical, you will be disappointed. Yes it is more practical, but also significantly dryer. After reading the first half of the book I put it away for six months, before finishing the rest of it in a day or two.

Nevertheless I think the book is brilliant. Or to be more precise, the approach to inno
Jul 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very insightful. Two small issues:

1) the book is clearly a way for the author to generate leads for their business. Nothing wrong with that, but the last chapters had too many distracting ads-like endorsement for the author's consulting;

2) the lessons are not directly applicable to the smallest startups - the process one is supposed to follow has too many steps and some of the individual steps are extremely complex and could alone fill entire books (e.g: recruit respondents for a statistically
Henrik Berglund Berglund
Jul 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
"Jobs to be done" is a very interesting approach to innovation. Focus on needs and value thinking, All agilists should get a grip on this to make sure product ownership are up to date in your organization.

Ulwick want to stand out as the originator and leader for jobs to be done theory and practise. He seems a bit afraid that Clayton Christenssen and others does not give him credit (and as far as I remember Cristenssen did not in his book on the topic). Sometimes the marketing message for his com
Daniel Schulte
Jan 28, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook, library
This book encourages it's readers to focus on take that customers want perform rather than products they want to use our consume. Oreos are a great example. People might want to eat Oreos because they taste good, but the job they perform can carry between different consumers (a reward for good behavior or a snack to relax aftera hard day). The different type of job that the product is targeting for each consumer can change the way you market, test, package, and even further develop the product i ...more
Tathagat Varma
May 25, 2019 rated it liked it
It is commonsensical that an innovation approach based on market, or the outcomes required is more likely to be successful than a wild-west approach where the team decides to pursue whatever they find interesting! But commonsense being rare, it often needs a documented process! So, here is one such book.

The first part is interesting, especially the matrix. But you lose interest as the book progresses.
Oct 17, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: work-related
Jobs-to-be-Done (JTBD) theory is really popular with teams doing application/software development right now. JTBD is the framework for putting outcome-driven innovation (ODI) into practice. It seems like a fine framework for prioritizing development work, but I'm not sure it's better than other frameworks.

From a UX perspective, the user-focus is a positive aspect. I suppose if this framework encourages more teams to take the user perspective more seriously, that's a good thing.
Oct 08, 2017 rated it liked it
The book sets out a sequence of steps for: mapping the customer needs using the JTBD Theory, finding opportunities for growth and formulating a market/product strategy.
It also uses case studies to reinforce the value it creates for companies applying the process.
I felt it as a lenghty description of the Jobs Theory. Still, I keep it as a reference for customer discovery efforts.
Remi Monophaz
Mar 18, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: work
Not very much new things since the «  what customer want ». Good thing : more practical than the previous book. Bad thing : a little too much advertisement for his consulting firm. Give just enough advice to show you that you need them, but not enough to really do the job yourself. Still a good read if you didn’t read the « what customer... » a little redundant else.
Jan 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
I liked it. especially they beginning and the middle practical parts. the case studies were a bit superfluous since the author had referenced them though out the earlier text. but again the basic principal of customer focused innovation is a key key point. and the book argues conclusively.
Jan 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: venture-design
Very thorough introduction to job-to-be-done segmentation. Relies too much on statistics and quantitative vs. qualitative research for my purposes and preference at times.

But it does supply a really rigorous structure for summarising JTBD statements and hypotheses.
Scott Anderson
Sep 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Good intro to the framework; wish it had more details.

The intro to JTBD framework was good, but the part about analyzing the JTBD survey lacked details. I guess they want to keep the special sauce to themselves.
Brad Dunn
Dec 28, 2019 rated it liked it
This first book I have read on this topic. It's fast to read then turns into a pitch for the consulting company who wrote the book. It's a great way to learn the ropes though. Highly recommended but nothing to write home about. ...more
Bülent Duagi
Apr 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Excellent book about the Jobs-to-be-done theory and the Outcome Driven Innovation practice.
Would've given it 5* if it had less self-promo for Strategyn (the author's strategy consulting company).
Jamie Showrank
Jul 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Illuminating lens focuses on understanding functional needs and desired outcomes when designing to delight. Excellent examples!
Tugrul Yuksel
Jul 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Incredibly useful and I don't use these words often

Very crisp and clear explanation of the entire process to apply JTBD framework. It feels like I can go out and practice already.
Jul 27, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. Found the theory compelling and want to read more but this book was a bit too light on the details for my liking.
Sandra Navarro
Nov 26, 2019 rated it liked it
It’s an interesting approach but it lacks depth
Clements Johnson
Feb 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Really enjoyed the perspective this book provided. I definitely plan to employ some of his ideas in my work.
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