Jobs to be Done on GOV.UK

A few months ago Imeh Akpan ran a session for GOV.UK Product Managers going over the Jobs to Be Done Framework. She’s been looking into how we might use it to think about our users better.

Jobs to Be Done is about understanding the underlying problem.

What’s the differnece between a Job and a Problem that a user has? It adds context: so it includes the fact that someone is driving to work, rather than just being hungry.

This kind of contextual understanding helps you improve your product to better solve some known jobs.

So in the case of selling milkshake to people visiting a fast food restaurant, optimising the product in its own right – making it chunkier or improving the flavour – was missing the point. When the business started solving for the underlying problem – the real ‘job’ the milkshake was being ‘hired’ to carry out – then sales went up.

Jobs to be Done is about user motivations and situations, rather than attributes and characteristics. This is good because those things change, and may not be important. ‘Specialist’ users of GOV.UK are often not very different to ‘Mainstream’ users. I found the same thing at NDCS – the imagined differences between “Professional” and “Parent” users didn’t really hold up to scrutiny.

A Job to be Done is the real world goal that the user hopes to accomplish. It’s not a task – those are the steps that someone takes to accomplish the goal, because they seem like the best way of doing so.

A ‘Job story’ is written in the form:

When [situation]

I want to [motivation]

So I can [expected outcome]

Take a Job and a Job Story, and you have a Job to Be Done. The Job stays the same, as it’s a deep undelrying need, but the story and the solution can change over time.

High-level Jobs to be Done on GOV.UK

Do a thing

Life circumstances require you to interact with government

e.g. You want to become a childminder, drive a car in the UK, become self-employed or fish in UK waters.

Trigger: change in circumstances.


  • Decide where to get guidance
  • Discovery loop (find -> read)
  • Make choices
  • Fulfil legal obligation

Advise on a thing

Help others to understand / interact with / use government structures / policy

e.g. help mum get her pension; help a client understand their visa options

Trigger: client request


  • Understand client circumstances and request
  • Choose the information source (Policy, Data, Regulation, Legislation)
  • Research loop (Find / Evaluate / Assess)
  • Advise (Explain, report, clarify)

Interrogate / change a thing

Examine, influence, appeal what government is doing and the decisions it has made.

e.g. Appeal my parking fine, raise public awareness about welfare reform, push government to improve policy-making or change policy.

Trigger: Emergency events / data / being told to pay a fine / refusal / minsterial announcement / news / topical events.


  • Decide information source (generally data and policy papers)
  • Research loop (Find -> Evaluate and assess)
  • Decide (Support / challenge / prepare for the change)
  • Engage (Consultation / campaign / in-person meeting, complaint, appeal)