If you look at a user scenario (essentially a pathway in and then out of your product and it’s features) you’ll build better products.

If you go one level up, we’re getting meta here, you should also consider their Job to be Done (JTBD) [Otherwise known as Outcome-Driven Innovation]. Essentially a person isn’t just buying whole bean coffee, they’re buying tomorrow mornings ritual of making coffee and then enjoying it.

It’s a bit weird the first few times, so let’s break it down by Scenario and JTBD.

Scenario — A customer enters a grocery store and walks the aisles, they find the ‘coffee’ aisle and hopefully notice your brand, pick it up, read the label (maybe), and decide to purchase.

This scenario would help you understand where you should be optimizing your product. Standard optimizations are; Shelf placement (we want eye level), Package design (make it capture attention), Copy writing (well written words to give context to your target customers — think eco-friendly, B-Corps, etc), and maybe price point in the coffee market due to competition.

JTBD — A customer wants to enjoy a coffee tomorrow morning while they do their morning reading, they also enjoy the 10 minute ritual of grinding beans and making a french press.

With this context in mind how would your optimizations change? What copy writing / placement / sales techniques and more would you alter?

Both are incredibly useful techniques and should be leveraged when building. In my experience here are two quick parameters that have significant variance when you compare a Scenario to a Job to be Done:

  • Time — In scenario design you optimize the path mainly. In JTBD you optimize to help them accomplish the Job as fast as possible. Both help the user greatly.
  • Referral — In scenario design where you want a person to tell another person about your product you implement referral feature sets usually. In JTBD you optimize for how a person feels, this increases word-of-mouth greatly, and then slide in a feature to help them spread the word if they so desire.

While making those next decisions consider both techniques, for JTBD think of how you can improve your end user, how can you help make them better?


Written by: Brandon Waselnuk