Identify the winning features and compose compelling Value Propositions with Jobs-to-be-done

A real-life Jobs-to-be-done case study with Promethean

Promethean is a world leader in interactive display technology for education

Promethean is a global education technology company that develops, integrates and implements learning environments.

Together with educators, Promethean is constantly developing new products for interactive learning. The headquarters of Promethean are in Seattle, USA

The business challenge of Promethean

Promethean was about to develop a new software product representing a new product category for Promethean. A first series of prototype tests gave indications that educators like the concept.

However, there were many ideas, but it was unclear what the final product should look like. Additionally, there was still the question of which the true “hero-features” are and what the overall value proposition should be, so teachers will like the solution and be willing to pay for it.

Therefore, Promethean wanted to conduct a Jobs-to-be-done (JTBD) study to identify unmet needs of teachers in a solution-agnostic way so that the new software can be developed to solve exactly those needs.

This should increase the chances of adoption by teachers significantly.

Framing the project

The job hierarchy helps to understand and structure the customer’s needs and motivations as a pyramid, i.e., what is in the focus (= focus job) and which are the steps to achieve this job (= job steps).

It becomes also clearer what the “bigger why” of this job is, i.e., motives located higher up in the human pyramid of needs (= higher level job).

The focus job in the case, the core of the analysis, is «To teach».

The job hierarchy serves

  • as a going-in hypothesis for qualitative discovery

  • as a guide for interviewing and

  • to organize the analysis.

The value of the framing the project with the jobs to be done hierarchy:

What we wanted to understand were the needs and expectations teachers have when trying to get the job “to teach” done.

We also wanted to understand which criteria they apply when judging whether the job is done well or not.

To make all the observed expectations comparable and measurable we formulated them in to “Job Metrics”.

Job Metrics follow a clear syntax and must meet certain standards, such as being natural language, being solution-free, containing a precise unit and a clarifying context.

Job Metrics make Jobs-to-be-done actionable by allowing one to assess whether a task is done well or poorly with a particular solution.

Example of a Job Metric:

Use of the hierarchy in discovery

We discovered first Job Metrics in existing research. More Metrics were in 8 following jobs-to-be-done interviews discovered.

In total we collected more than 300 Job Metrics or in other words customer criteria to measure if the job is done well or not.

The Job Metrics were structured and assigned to the jobs of the Job Journey.


We cleaned the list of over 300 Job Metrics trough eliminating duplicates and going through an initial prioritization. Therefore, we got the list down to 51 Job Metrics that went into quantification.

The key objective was to quantitatively validate which ones of the chosen 51 Metrics were relevant to customers and which ones were true pain points. Pain points are those Job Metrics that are important to the customer but not well met.

The survey that includes screening (1) and profiling questions (2) as well as a rating of the Metrics (3) in regards of importance and satisfaction was filled out by 163 teachers.

The Value Map shows on one sight which Job Metrics are discovered as pain points

With the Value Map, Promethean discovered unmet need opportunities where the importance to the customer and the current customer satisfaction show a gap. Three of them are:

•to refocus students as quickly as possible when their attention wanders

•to refocus the class as quickly as possible after an interruption has occurred

•that a student focus is not interrupted due to technical issues

These unmet need opportunities are robustly supported by data, so the team can confidently determine the overall direction of innovation effort.

Pain matching

Through a pain matching Promethean identified which existing feature ideas were addressing the uncovered pain points.

It got clear which features really are going to address the teacher’s needs and which ones didn’t have to be prioritized.

With the pain matching 8 feature ideas (out of 102) were identified with hero potential.

Creating a new convincing value proposition

In a final step, the team worked on a promised centered value proposition.

The canvas to create the promise centered value proposition that was invented by Vendbridge includes all the discovered customer insights from the project as well as the company perspective to it.

On the customer perspective we have:

  • The jobs of a teacher (jobs-to-be-done hierarchy)

  • The pain points (results of the quantification)

On the company perspective we have:

  • Hero features (result of pain matching)

  • Desired actions (that teacher buy/download the product of Promethean)

All together a new compelling promise can be formulated.

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