I've long been a fan of Clayton Christiansen's work on "job function". HBR has covered his work, including the milkshake story. A local dairy shop wants more sales. They know they make a good milkshake. So they decide to make their shakes even better. The logic is a good shake is good for business, so a great shake will be great business. Right?
Wrong. Great shakes, like beauty, are in the eye of the beholder. What folks want from a shake at 8am before they hit the highway for a commute to work that could last 60 or more minutes is very different from the shake moms want to buy for the kids on the way home from school. The commuters want a thick, creamy shake. One that lasts the miles and counts for breakfast. But the thick shake is undrinkable when you're a 45-lb duckling sucking on a straw.
Via the Innovation Management Group, I've just found this piece on LinkedIn. It's a lens on jobs to be done written by an enterprise software product manager named Hutch Carpenter. The piece gets practical about how to elicit from customers what they are trying to do.
Software development offers a great lens on product development across industries. If you are about making great products and you're not reading upon software development strategies and tactics, regardless of the industry where you work, I suspect you're missing a trick or two.
Check out Hutch Carpenter's slide share in this blog post. You can read it in relation to two important facets of StoryFORMs:
- Heroes just wanna get stuff done (your product or service needs to be a means to that end)
- StoryFORMing can happen at any level - from the broadest plane of why your company or project exists at all, to the narrow field of a single new functional aspect of an offering you're continuing to improve.
For another useful piece that comes from the world of software, see Sarah Doody's influential post, including in our library.