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How to Achieve Team Alignment Using Jobs-to-be-Done

team success organizational alignment

Let's just say it: working with a terrible team sucks. It really sucks. Whether it’s your leadership team, your colleagues or your peers, working with a team that sucks, absolutely sucks. It’s even worse when your team doesn’t know what they’re supposed to be focused on. This is called team misalignment and it is especially terrible for product teams. Your team needs to work together on a product roadmap and a product strategy that will help you succeed and beat your competition. When your teams aren’t working together, that can kill your company.

Why is team alignment so difficult to achieve? Well, humans don't really know what to focus on. How do you get your team focused so they start working well together?

Align Your Team by Focusing on Your Customer

Teams have all sorts of issues. They have issues with customers, they have issues with competitors, they have issues with each other, they have issues at home that they bring to work. It can be incredibly confusing. The solution is pretty simple though. Focus on your customers.

This is what your team should be doing: figuring out how to satisfy your customers and do it way better than your competitors. Again, without any sort of agreement amongst your team members on what you're supposed to focus on, this can be incredibly difficult. Enter: jobs-to-be-done (JTBD). JTBD is a better way to get team alignment and team agreement. How does this work? The key concept in jobs-to-be-done is that your customers are actually not buying your product. They're hiring your product to get a job done. Think about this for a minute.

Your customers do not care about your product at all. They're humans. They want to get back to their lives. They want to be with their families and their friends. They have goals to achieve in their work lives and they have goals to achieve in their personal lives. These goals are called jobs-to-done. Your customers don't want to spend time using your product. What they want to do is get their job done and get back to their lives.

This is how you can start to align your team. First, focus on what it is that your customers are trying to do. Are they a consumer? Are they a parent? Are they a retiree? Are they young adults starting their career? Are they trying to change careers? Do they have health problems? Is it a business? Are you focusing on the finance department, operations, product teams, marketing teams, sales teams, executives…? There are lots of different approaches to markets, but you have to know who your customer is and what their job-to-be-done is.

For example, consumers need to get to destinations on time, parents need to get a baby to sleep through the night, patients need to obtain a blood sample, CFOs need to optimize cash flow, salespeople need to acquire customers, etc. The key insight is that your customer’s job-to-be-done is independent of your product. So the market you are in is not your product, it is your customers JTBD.

Job Steps and Customer Needs

Once you have identified and defined your customer and their job, you can start to break that job down into a series of steps and customer needs. This is key. You can understand all of your customer's needs, independent of any product or service. In trying to determine what your customers' needs are, jobs-to-be-done is extremely useful, and it's been proven to work exceptionally well because the needs in your customers’ job are independent of any solutions.

For example, no one wants Apple or Google Maps; they want to get to a destination on time. If your team was trying to beat Apple and Google Maps and your business goal was to generate more revenue, you would want to start by analyzing the job of getting to a destination on time. This job, like all jobs, has steps, and steps follow a pattern. You can think of job steps as a basic explanation of what your customer has to go through to achieve their goal. To get to a destination on time, consumers have to do things like estimate the departure time, plan the stops, travel to the destination, assess if they're going to get to the destination on time along the way, reset the route if necessary (if there's some sort of delay, for example), and then conclude the job by parking the car and walking to the destination. Every job follows this pattern of job steps. 

strategic planning job steps

Job steps are complex, but you can break them down into a series of variables. If, for example, consumers are trying to plan the stops throughout their busy day, they need to know a bunch of variables, including the optimal sequence of stops, as well as the route to take to each stop. Then, you add an action your customer has to take with the variable because -- remember -- they're trying to get the job done. It turns out, there are about 100 customer needs for every job. That means it’s critical you use the customers’ needs to have a structured conversation with your team that will help you decide how to focus and where to focus.

Once you have all these needs, you can survey your customers to figure out where they struggle. This is what will help your team work together and align towards your customer to achieve team success. Here is the process:

  1. Get your team to agree on who your customer is.
  2. Get your team to agree on what your customer’s JTBD is.
  3. Get your team to agree on the job steps and needs.
  4. Get objective survey data to identify where your customers’ struggle.
  5. Use the survey data to build your product roadmap, making sure your product satisfies needs faster and more accurately than your competitors.

Even if there are jerks on your team, if you can get them to agree where your customers struggle, you are more likely to build a strong product roadmap and sell a successful product to beat your competitors. To learn more about team alignment using jobs-to-be-done, contact us today and try thrv for free.

Jay Haynes

Posted by Jay Haynes

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