What comes to mind when you think of Snickers? If you’re like me, you probably think about a way to keep from getting “hangry” when you’re on the go. The nutty deliciousness of a Snickers bar is one example of how a product successfully does a job for a consumer, which is the goal of every good product manager.
Rather than sitting around dreaming up amazing new product features, today’s top product managers are focusing on researching and understanding a problem before even beginning to develop a solution. At Voalte, we use the Jobs to Be Done (JTBD) framework to help us understand why and how clinicians and support staff are communicating at their health systems.
The theory behind JTBD was first developed by Anthony Ulwick, then adapted by Harvard Business School’s Clay Christensen. Historically, JTBD has been applied not to software but to branded consumer products, with a classic example defining the “job” of a fast food milkshake, starting with research on why customers chose that particular beverage. According to Professor Christensen, “When we buy a product, we essentially ‘hire’ it to help us do a job. If it does the job well, the next time we’re confronted with the same job, we tend to hire that product again. And if it does a crummy job, we ‘fire’ it and look for an alternative.”
While traditional market research focuses on what people say, observational research focuses on what people do and why they do things a certain way. Whether mixing thicker milkshakes or developing more efficient communication solutions, if you understand what job your product is doing, then how to improve it becomes obvious. It starts with a situation, which creates motivation, which leads to an outcome. Here’s how it looks:
When ____, I want to _____, so I can _______.
Using this construction, you can see how different Jobs to Be Done require different solutions. When a customer is setting up Voalte Platform for the first time and needs to load 5,000 end users into the system, the features they need are far different from when the same customer needs to add only one new user. In another example, we researched why providers at one health system weren’t adopting Voalte Me in large numbers. At the time, the Enrollment Manager invited providers to join Voalte Me via an email message. Yet, we found that many providers don’t have their corporate email on their personal smartphones. By sending a text message rather than an email, providers can enroll from their smartphones with one tap, and adoption rates rose dramatically.
This year at VUE19, the Product Management team will host two PreVUE Workshops where customers can collaborate with our product managers to identify when challenges crop up so we can understand the jobs they need solved. In “Integrating Smartphones with Your EHR,” Mark Hettig will review numerous integration options and help attendees identify the ones that would most benefit their healthcare organizations. In “Confronting Clinical Workflow Challenges,” Jason Amunwa will guide customers through a simulated smart room to discuss challenges with nurse call and physiological monitoring alerts, and identify potentially impactful integration opportunities.The JTBD mindset is starting to seep into the healthcare industry as health systems aim to replicate high-quality consumer experiences. As Eduardo Conrado, Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer at Ascension, wrote in a recent post, “People won’t always tell us what they need, but they will eventually show us – if we pay attention. Experience research follows a continuum from problem discovery to product delivery. It begins with ethnographic research to identify unmet user needs and opportunities for innovation, and continues with concept development and refinement, which leads to usability evaluation of products and service before market release.”
If you haven’t done so already, register now to be at VUE19 in November. And remember to sign up for PreVUE Workshops to help us prioritize the jobs you need done at your health system. Clinical communication systems aren’t quite as simple (or delicious) as a Snickers, but working together we can understand the challenges and begin to develop successful solutions.
Alex Brown is Director of Marketing and Strategy, Care Communications at Hillrom.