Why a product manager should own a job, not a feature set
The natural state of digital products is to gradually decay to a state of mediocrity and irrelevance. Even if your company starts with a well executed, innovative idea, the pull towards product entropy is surprisingly strong. One of the reasons for this is that product managers so frequently end up viewing the world through a lens of features; designing, building, comparing, and promoting features.
The jobs-to-be-done (JTBD) framework is a powerful approach to combat the siren call of a focus on features. Pioneered by Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen, this framework looks past the surface categorization of products, and instead focuses on the deeper “jobs” that customers “hire” a product to accomplish.
At Intercom, we’ve slowly embraced the JTBD approach over the past two years. We started with incorporating JTBD into our design process, then using it to drive our packaging and pricing models, then rolled it out across our marketing messaging, and most recently we restructured our product teams around our customers’ JTBD. In this talk I’ll share our experiences and lessons learned as we have essentially bet the company on this approach, with takeaways for product managers to start incorporating JTBD thinking into their own products and organizations.