Martin, using your example, think of the job-to-be-done as “listen to music”, a job that has been around forever. Four of nearly 100 desired outcomes associated with that job include:
- Minimize the time it takes to get the songs in the desired order for listening
- Minimize the time it takes to find songs that are enjoyable to listen to
- Minimize the likelihood that the music sounds distorted at high volume
- Minimize the time it takes to skip over a song that I don’t want to hear
These outcomes have always been associated with the job. They are stable over time. People struggled getting songs in the desired order for listening when the solution was reel-to-reel tape — which was around well before the Sony Walkman. The Walkman didn’t create the need (desired outcome), it just addressed it differently.
Similarly, people have always wanted to find songs that they’d like to hear — again the solutions that have addressed this stable outcome (word-of-mouth, top 40 lists, spotify, etc.) have changed over time.
This is a fundamental principle of the ODI approach: (1) work hard up front to discover the metrics that customers have used for years to evaluate the effectiveness of solutions over time to get a job done, and (2) use the same criteria to evaluate a new solution’s ability to get the job done better.
By definition, a desired outcome is stable over time. If a need statement is not stable over time, then it is not a desired outcome. Desired outcome statements are also measurable, controllable in the design of a product, devoid of solutions, and quantifiable through quantitative research. This is why we say we have “invented” the perfect need statement.