Should we be using Job Stories?


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I have not gone all in on Customer Journey Mapping and Customer/User/Buyer Personas because the vast majority are created without the Customer/User involvement. Though they may be the “best” we can do, I feel we often stereotype our customer/users into what we want them to be versus who they are.

In lieu of this, I like to create scenarios on a broader perspective with the underlying behaviors that I expect to see within those scenarios. This way, I view the Customer/Users from a behavior standpoint and what type of behaviors best suit the product/service I am offering. There is more of this thinking in future blogs, but for now, it is Outcome Based Thinking based a great deal on the Jobs to Be Done Metaphor, which I have written about in the blog post, CAP-Do supports Outcome Driven Innovation.

Recently, I ran across several blog posts of Alan Klement (Twitter @alanklement) and enjoyed his perspective on creating Job Stories.

5 Tips for writing a Job Story

  1. Refine A Situation By Adding Contextual Information
  2. Job Stories Come From Real People Not Personas
  3. Design Modular Job Stories Which Features (Solutions) Can Plug Into
  4. Add Forces To Motivations
  5. Job Stories Don’t Have To Be From A Specific Point Of View

and Replacing The User Story With The Job Story. Alan has moved his blog platform to, so if you notice a little confusion in the links above, I was attempting to be accommodating to his platform.

This perspective is much more granular than what I have described in my own writing. I get there in actual practice but as of yet never elaborated on it other than in writing specific to a customer (Yes, blogging is not my full-time job). Alan has done a good job, in naming it and in actually describing it. Using this approach, I see a more accurate description that will result in better understanding and connecting customer behaviors.

If you think about Program Theory, it typically has two components; a theory of change and a theory of action. The theory of change is about how things work, or the job to be done (JBTD). The theory of action is what we do to change the behaviors or to activate the change/JTBD.  I have usually concentrated on the how and often I have not established the why as well as I should have. This approach is something that I think helps me get there. Thanks Alan!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Joseph Dager
Business901 is a firm specializing in bringing the continuous improvement process to the sales and marketing arena. He has authored the books the Lean Marketing House, Marketing with A3 and Marketing with PDCA. The Business901 Blog and Podcast includes many leading edge thinkers and has been featured numerous times for its contributions to the Bloomberg's Business Week Exchange.


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