What Job Does Your Product Do?

Posted on February 19, 2007  Comments (11)

via: Free Clay Christensen, MIT Sloan Management Review, Article – Finding the Right Job for Your Product* by Clayton M. Christensen, Scott D. Anthony, Gerald Berstell and Denise Nitterhouse (available online for a limited time only). The article has a very simple point. Customers buy your product or service to fill some specific need or desire. Knowing what need the customer is filling can help you improve your offering. Knowing what job the customer is using your product for lets you focus on improving your product for that market. The article provides several examples.

The basic idea is familiar: customer focus, specifically see how your customers uses your product (there might well be several market segments that use your products in different ways – to do different jobs in the words of the article).

Related: articles by Clayton ChristensenCustomer Un-focusWhat Could we do Better? – Genchi Genbutsu is the lean term for the concept going to see with your own eyes: go and see the customer actually use the product, don’t just listen to what they say – Quality Conversation with Gary Convismanagement improvement articles

* broken link removed. Sadly MIT isn’t even up to kindergarden web management standards – the broke their web link. It is sad organizations with so much cash can’t even avoid the basic web management failures identified over a decade ago. Truly astounding how poorly managed this organization that seeks to tell other people how to manage is. Then have lots of cash given to them to pay smart people like Clayton Christensen to create good content but then waste the value they can add to the world with lousy management.

It also is another example of lots of fancy talk isn’t really what is needed in most cases. Just do basic stuff identified decades ago. MIT seems to focused on fancy new ideas while failing to even do a mediocre job applying decades old simple guidance. MIT has lots of great content (hire lots of smart people with donations and so would anyone) but is highly biased toward fancy, smart sounding stuff rather than just doing what anyone that pays attention could find in decades old material.

11 Responses to “What Job Does Your Product Do?”

  1. Curious Cat » Innovation Strategy
    February 18th, 2008 @ 10:54 am

    “(a) simple solutions (b) to overlooked problems (c) that actually need to be solved, and…”

  2. Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog » Newspaper Innovation In Kansas
    January 29th, 2009 @ 10:23 am

    […] The company has continued on an path of customer focus and innovation. There work shows what can be done by understanding what need you fulfill for customers. […]

  3. Customer Focus » Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog
    July 8th, 2012 @ 9:52 pm

    […] many companies fail to serve their customers well. To serve customers, a thorough understanding of what problem you solve for customers is needed. The decisions at many companies, unfortunately, are far removed from this […]

  4. Speech by Dr. Deming to Japanese Business Leaders in 1950 « The W. Edwards Deming Institute Blog
    November 5th, 2012 @ 1:47 pm

    […] can be sensible, watching them use the products of services is much more powerful. Knowing what problems your business is solving for customers is extremely important. You need to know their needs and desire intimately and then innovate based […]

  5. Customers, "Internal Customers" and End Users » Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog
    December 12th, 2012 @ 12:59 am

    “To me the most important customer focus is on the end users: those that derive value from what your organization provides. If there is confusion between various customer groups it may be helpful to use terms like end user…”

  6. Human-Computer Cooperation — Hexawise
    March 11th, 2013 @ 10:27 pm

    […] software as a tool used to achieve an aim mirrors the idea of a company viewing their products and services as solving specific problems for customers. The tool is valuable in how it is used by people – not in some abstract way (say technical […]

  7. Asking Questions to Initiate New Thinking « The W. Edwards Deming Institute Blog
    April 1st, 2013 @ 6:03 am

    What business are we in?
    What business ought we be in? – updating the language, this is very similar to the idea behind “pivoting” in the lean start vernacular…

  8. Clayton Christensen on Innovation and Macro Economics « The W. Edwards Deming Institute Blog
    June 24th, 2013 @ 12:01 pm

    He discusses the example of Toyota freeing up a great deal of capital (compared to GM or Ford) by reducing the amount of inventory needed. If the capital that is freed up is invested in disruptive innovation the economy does very well…

  9. Stated Versus Revealed Preference » Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog
    July 9th, 2013 @ 10:12 pm

    […] customer visits but still a very large number of visits each day I am sure. Understanding, and catering to, the problem your customers are trying to solve is […]

  10. How to Sustain Long Term Enterprise Excellence » Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog
    October 3rd, 2013 @ 5:41 am

    […] customer base is extremely valuable. But true customer focus, where the organization understands what problems the organization solves for customers, results in a forward looking organization that is constantly providing more and more value to […]

  11. Cater to Customers Desires to Achieve Customer Delight » Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog
    January 10th, 2017 @ 11:17 am

    […] Perspective (2013) – the most important customer focus is on the end users (2012) – What Job Does Your Product Do? (2007) – What one thing could we do better? […]

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