Identify and improve the jobs your customers care about.
You may have heard about "Jobs to be Done" or the "Jobs Theory". This concept examines customer needs from the point-of-view of what the customer really wants to accomplish. This is also a concept Hostile Sheep has wholeheartedly adopted and continues to use on a regular basis. For those unfamiliar with Jobs to be Done, I'll unpack everything a little later in this article. Before I do, let me talk about some typical outcomes of using Jobs to Done and why you may want to employ this concept.
Why do your customers 'hire' your product?
A "product" is anything a customer can hire to help them get their job done. These can be physical-products (goods), invisible-products (services), or hybrid-products (digital). Hostile Sheep uses Jobs to be Done methodologies to help our clients:
Uncover customer needs: Most organizations understand their customer needs, however, every organization has blind-spots. Hostile Sheep helps clients in three ways: (1) validating known/theorized needs, (2) learning about specific needs, and (3) uncovering latent needs. We have a unique Jobs to be Done approach to recruiting customers who've recently 'hired' or 'fired' your product (or a competing product). Then, we'll conduct interviews to determine why the customer hired or fired the product and how our clients product could edge-out the competition in the future.
- Create a set of personas: Personas are great if they include the right information. The term "personas" can be a sensitive topic because there are two very different flavours: product-design personas and marketing-communication personas. These are both very different in purpose and in information. We specialize in product-design personas; in fact, we developed our own unique flavour designed to work in harmony with other Jobs to be Done methodologies. We call our unique flavour "Job-based personas" and they are primarily segmented by job to be done. Unlike mar-com personas that are segmented using a psychographic or demographic dimension, job-based personas are segmented by job. This enables our clients to focus on optimizing their products job-by-job.
Why do customers 'fire' your product?
We don't want to wait until customers are actually firing your product before we start learning how to deal with customer pains and how to optimize customer gains. We want to help our clients:
Optimize an existing experience: Hostile Sheep specializes at improving products that are currently in market; especially digital products like websites, apps, and digital services. We take a Jobs to be Done approach to determining the best way to optimize our clients products. We uncover customer "pains" and "gains", probing which pains and gains are important-enough to consider hiring a new product. We often co-create with customers to ensure we're capturing customer needs correctly.
Define a minimum viable product: Our team is very familiar with Agile software development and the importance of accurately defining a minimum viable product (or MVP). Hostile Sheep thinks a good MVP should offer customers just-enough functionality to get their job done. The MVP is a starting-point we want to use to collect customer feedback; that will ultimately shape future product releases. In most cases, defining an MVP is a heavily collaborative effort between product owners, customers, designers and engineers. It can often lead to the creation of a product roadmap and other product planning tools.
Establish a continuous improvement plan: We think everyone with a digital product (website or app) should implement continuous improvement (CI) principles. Hostile Sheep believes this so strongly that we've never accepted a "set it and forget it" style project. We tell all of our clients that we'll help get you on the right track, but ultimately your team will be responsible for maintaining and evolving your product. This can scare clients, but we've become great at explaining that we won't abandon our clients and will be right beside them until they're ready to do it on their own. Between Hostile Sheep and our world-renowned partners, we can help steward an organization through the challenges of becoming a continuous development organization.
Not exactly what you're looking for?
We move our clients through discovery and definition phases of product design projects. Hostile Sheep has tackled almost every aspect of product design from conducting primary research to uncover needs, to co-creating alpha/design rapid-prototypes that can be tested with real customers and can inform downstream development teams. Read more on our home page.