Why JobsToBeDone is such a great framework

A Job to be Done describes the “better version of myself”. It answers the question of personal progress: “How are you better since you started using service or product?” Competition for a JTBD is defined from the customer’s perspective, and is a zero-sum game: When customers hire a new solution for a JTBD, they always fire something else.

Note: to me these are the essentials of the framework. Written without any examples or deeper explanations.

1. It’s damn customer-centric

The customers have a job to offer. They have a need to be fulfilled. You as a company desperately want to get that job. …

Adding two missing dimensions “where” and “when”

Just a quick thought: I am currently modeling user value creation hypotheses. Where do we start generating value and which problem do we tackle?

This leads me to a good old tool: The Impact Map by @gojkoadzic.

Impact Mapping — short recap:

  1. The Why defines the user’s goal, the intent, the JTBD, the Vision — measurable by an user-centric KPI.
  2. The Who defines the target audience, the user segment facing a problem, having a need or a unknown desire. Anybody between B2C, B2B, Stakeholders or Co-Workers.
  3. The How describes the change for the Who. How are we trying to solve the problem to make progress…

I am working for a new product at the moment and again I am kinda struggling(!) with writing a good user value hypothesis.

I am used to templates like the well-known job story:

When … (Situation)
I want … (Progress)
So I can … (JTBD)

Example (vacation & flight):

When I need a vacation far away from home
I want to get abroad by plane
So I can recover

This clearly describes the user need aka the job-to-be-done but it somehow lacks the created value. User value or satisfaction emerges as the relation between user needs and attributes of your product. …

How to stay the course in the face of uncertainty

Lost on sea? Never as a Polynesian Navigator!

Thousands of years ago, small groups of Polynesians set out on small canoes for destinations unknown, possibly never to return. They left behind loved ones and the safety of land in pursuit of the near impossible: Finding uncharted islands in the Pacific Ocean.

Sailing thousands of miles without any reliable navigational aids like compass or maps required skill and strategy: Polynesian navigators observed things such as a change in wind direction, color of the skies, wave intervals, and behavior of birds to tell them which direction to sail. They did not set a fixed goal instead they just pretended a…

Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy taught the following:

An answer does not make any sense without knowing the question.

The people in the book are quite puzzled getting 42 as the answer to “the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything”. And they waited for 7½ million years — the time the super computer Deep Thought needed to compute the answer.

“I think the problem, to be quite honest with you, is that you’ve never actually known what the question is.” — Deep Thought

Oftentimes users are quite puzzled by features, too. The reason is the same…

I’d like to share my lean user story template (scroll down for the template).

There have been lots of books and articles written on the topic of user stories, so I won’t go very deep into details. But nevertheless I like to sketch out some — for me — important parts.

Why Stories at all?

Purpose: A user story tells us why are we doing things.

Conversation container: All collaborators can list their results and requirements. It is a living document.

Quality: A user story drives acceptance tests.

Planning: A story holds an estimate.

Implementation: A story drives the task planning.

What it is…

Gains — Pains — Time

As a Product Owner I normally try to create valuable things. I try to craft User Value and to be as much as empathic as I can. But it is so easy to fall in love with a solution/feature and to stop thinking about value at all.

What exactly is this thing called User Value?

I like to share some thoughts on that topic that helped me (1) to better understand the user, (2) to explain my thoughts and insights to others and (3) to see business opportunities.

Three Dimensions

Let’s describe User Value in the three dimensions: (1) positive value, (2)…

Think in Products


The problem space over the solution space

People problems over company problems

Doing beats talking

Now beats later

Proove over Assumptions

Build new things instead of replicate others

Failing over reaching given targets

Trust & freedom over following plans & budgets

Courage over costs

What do you value?

How to better understand searching users and over-deliver on landing pages

What we want to achieve in terms of landing page measurements

SEO changed dramatically the last years: Google is focusing more and more on quality aspects of SERPs with algorithm updates like Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird or Mobilegeddon recently.

SEOs are struggling with new quality indicating KPIs like the following:

  • Time on Page: How long does a user consume your content? 10 seconds are nothing!
  • Bounce Rate: Does she go back to Google immediately because she did not found what she was looking for? Poor content!
  • Pages per Session: Is the user willing to stay on your site? Do you offer related content?! A clear signal that she found sth worth consuming.

Personal learnings which will drive my future work as a product manager & SEO

In my professional life I‘ve been an entrepreneur, a software engineer and a consultant. For the last three years I took a deep dive into product management working as a scrum product owner at XING. Now — with quite some learnings — I am heading back to my own business.

I’d like to share my top personal insights I will take with me.

1. Build for outcome

— Never start a project without clear constraints

If somebody is approaching you with an idea or a request, ask:

  • What is the difference in the world after this project?
  • Why do your users need it?
  • What will be the change in life of your…

Jan Milz

Product Thinker

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