Forces of Progress
Forces of Progress are a representation of how customers hire and fire solutions in situations.
The Forces of Progress cause customers to switch to or away from a current product/service to an alternative solution.
The primary forces are: Push and Pull. A Push is something that compels us to part ways from our current solution. A Pull is something we fancy in the alternative we are considering. A primary axiom of Jobs To Be Done is that a switch is unlikely if Push & Pull forces don’t align in time and place.
Once the Push & Pull forces are aligned, a switch becomes possible, but, secondary forces may prevent a switch: the Anxiety we may have of the alternative solution, and our Habits formed around the current solution from which we need to break away.
Example: mid-afternoon slump —this is the point in our circadian rhythm that we are least alert. The Push*es of the situation *[important meeting this afternoon with my boss and her boss] links up with the Pull of solutions that helps us make progress [alert and cogent so I look good to my superiors]. There are many products that we can hire to solve this slump: coffee, running shoes/kit, naps, energy drinks, etc. The forces must align in order for us to switch from our current solution [pick up fresh cup of coffee] to an alternative [gulp down an energy drink]. Usually, forces surrounding the current situation are somewhat balanced. Pushes that may help consumers switch away from current solution are neutralized by the Habits’ inertia. This helps consumers create a somewhat stable system around their current use [looking forward to that fresh cup of cofee]. Only when this system is perturbed [unusually long line for coffee—I am going to be late!] when consumers are forced to make a choice to switch to an alternative solution available to them that they consider switching. This forms an entry point to try an alternative solution: [a 5-Hour Energy shot]. But only if it clears our in-context Anxiety in that time and space: [right at the counter, and no line].
Proper attention to the Forces of Progress is a key to a successful product definition.