This is a guest post by Jeff Sussna. He wrote this as response to Hutch Carpenter’s post on Twitter’s Job-to-be-done. Jeff is the Founder and Principal of Ingineering.IT, a technology consulting firm that facilitates Adaptive IT through teaching, coaching, and strategic design. Jeff has more than 20 years of IT experience, and has led high-performance teams across the Dev/QA/Ops spectrum. He is a highly sought-after speaker, and was recognized as a Top 50 Must-Read IT Blogger for 2012 and 2013 by BizTech Magazine. His interests focus on the intersection of development, operations, design, and business. He tweets at @jeffsussna

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Hutch Carpenter wrote a nice guest post about Twitter and jobs-to-be-done (JTBD). Unfortunately, I think the title (“What are Twitter’s jobs-to-be-done”) is potentially misleading. The power of the JTBD approach is that it forces us to think beyond what we’re building, and explicitly consider the needs of the people for whom we’re building it.

It’s a very concise way to put ourselves into a truly user-centered design mode. JTBD encourages us to think in terms of “what are our users trying to accomplish”? We are thus more likely to build something that’s actually valuable to them. In the case of Hutch’s example, the jobs-to-be-done aren’t Twitter’s, but their customers’. The difference may be subtle, or seem trivial, but I think it’s important. We need to guard against the strong and universal temptation to fall back to thinking about ourselves and our work instead the people who may or may not benefit from that work.