If you’ve worked on a product team in any capacity, chances are you’re familiar with the customer journey mapping process. Generally the purpose of a such a map is to allow you to see the moving parts that make up the big picture. It can help you get a handle on your priorities, groom your backlog, and understand the activities and tasks your users have to complete in order to successfully interact with your product.

But step back for a second. What does that actually mean -- “successfully interact?” When you’ve finished your customer journey map, do you really know how your users measure success? Do you understand the job they’ve hired your product to do? And are you sure that you’re doing that job for them better than anyone else?

The truth is, while a customer journey map can be a useful tool, it doesn’t answer any of these important questions. And that’s why we created the Job Desirability Map. We saw a need for a tool that could answer all of these questions -- and more.

But first, let’s review what we mean when we say “job.” We’re talking about the theory of Jobs To Be Done. The Harvard Business Review explains Jobs Theory in a nutshell: “When we buy a product, we essentially 'hire' it to help us do a job. If it does the job well, the next time we’re confronted with the same job, we tend to hire that product again. And if it does a crummy job, we ‘fire’ it and look for an alternative.” Or, to put it another way, as Harvard Business School professor Theodore Levitt famously said, “People don’t want a quarter inch drill -- they want a quarter inch hole.”

In other words, your product represents a specific solution to a broader job that your customers want to perform. For example, a job is finding your way to your destination as quickly as possible. A solution to do that job is Google Maps or Waze. And that’s an important distinction, because your solution is probably one of many. And that means you need to understand the job your customers might hire your product to do if you hope to be the most valuable solution.

So we wanted to create a process by which you could understand not only what your users are doing but also why they would do it. Job desirability mapping helps you uncover your users’ motivations, hopes, and frustrations. Once you’re able to see this clearly, your perspective will shift and you’ll be able to uncover the most important areas where you can remove existing friction points and accelerate your users’ progress.

Simply put, our process will shine a light on the ways in which you can create value and create a base of engaged users of your product.

How Does Job Desirability Mapping Work? 

When we set out to create our process, we knew one thing: The job desirability map needed to dig deeper than a customer journey map and provide you with the tools you need to prioritize the ways you can add value to your product. We went through many iterations before we felt we had the perfect process. Here’s an overview of how it works.

Stage One: Customer Journey Mapping

The process: It begins with something familiar: a customer journey map. In this step, you’ll identify the tasks and sub tasks your users might complete in order to interact with your product.

The goal: To brainstorm as many possible tasks and alternate takes that your users might engage in when interacting with your product

Stage Two: Identifying Target Behaviors and Motivations

The process: You’ll articulate the key target behaviors, along with their frequency, that you want your users to engage in. At its most basic, this will look something like “I want my customers to use my product every day.” But as you brainstorm, you’ll realize you have at least a handful of specific target behaviors that you want your users to perform. Once you establish what you want users to do, you’ll be posed a series of questions to help you determine why they would do what you want them to do.

The goal: At this stage, you’re beginning to think like your users, and that’s the first step in learning how to provide value.

Stage Three: Identifying the Top Level Job and the Sub Jobs

The process: In this step, you’ll be asked to look at the user story map you’ve created and identify the higher-level categories that emerge. These are the sub-jobs your users are trying to accomplish. In this stage After you identify the sub jobs, we’ll help you brainstorm and uncover the top level job that you users would hire your product to do.

The goal: To uncover the true purpose of your product -- the top level Job that users would potentially hire it to do.

Stage Four: Identify Progress Drivers and Friction Points

The process: In this stage, you’ll go over each task and sub task that you identified, and we’ll help you uncover progress drivers, the conditions that are helping to motivate people to continue to use your product. We’ll also identify friction points, those tasks that are creating frustrations and slowing their progress. You’ll also discover where users are resorting to workarounds as a result of the frictions points they experience when using your product.

The goal: Now that you understand the difference between a solution and a job, it’s easy to see why your solution needs to be the best one out there. If it isn’t, people may hire a better one. To be the best, you have to understand the things that are accelerating progress, and the friction points that are slowing it down. After this stage, you’ll gain an understanding of where your users are experiencing frustrations.

Stage 5: Identifying opportunities to drive progress (and increase engagement)

The process: You’ll rank every friction point and workaround you’ve uncovered on a scale of 1-5; 1 being the least frustrating friction point or disruptive workaround; 5 being the most.

The goal: By ranking your discoveries, you’ll begin to see where you have the opportunity to make the biggest impact and create the most value for your users, and in so doing increase engagement.

Stage 6: Identifying priorities and creating solutions

The process: In this final step, you’ll prioritize and narrow down your most significant opportunities to create value and drive avid use. Then, you’ll brainstorm solutions and write solution statements that posit the best ways to remove friction points and eliminate the need for workarounds.

The goal: This is where it all comes together: You have gained insight into your users’ motivations and hopes, and now you understand the steps to take to create the best solutions for their needs. And that's the key to fostering an engaged user base.

As you can see, a Job Desirability Map takes customer journey mapping to a whole new level. Once you’ve completed this process, you’ll understand better than ever before how to create value and provide a product that that will drive adoption and engagement.