“Cheaper, Better, Faster,” A child explains why needs statements are not fit for purpose.

Whenever you interview people about needs statements or how they would improve a product or service at least one person says something akin  to “Cheaper, Better, Faster”.

Such a statement is rarely possible to turn into any meaningful action because you have to interpret what each of the three words means.

You are likely to be wrong as you have to interpret each of the three words individually and come up with assumptions of what is meant.

Here is an example of why this is the case just using the first word from that statement: “Cheaper”

So I thought I would use my 5 year old to illustrate this point.  At the local supermarket he told me not to buy grated cheese because the cheese slab was “cheaper”.  This was surprising as:

  1. He is five
  2. The grated cheese costs just over £2 but has half the cheese by weight of the slab which is priced at around £3.50.

In some respects he is wrong – if we do not eat all the cheese then the grated cheese is cheaper or if we then change our habits from eating a cheaper substitute to cheese then our grocery bill would go up.  I also doubt that he was interested in included the cost of grating the cheese because he treats his parents like slave labour anyway.

It is possible I have been unfair to him as the calculation per 100g of cheese was shown on the pricing ticket, but it is more likely that his comment was based on either overhearing someone else or assumptions over the packaging.

By contextualising the needs statement you can come to the root cause of what is meant by “cheaper”, the framework gets the respondent to talk through the decision-making and what they are looking for, what they expect to achieve and what is displaced as a result.

Using the  Jobs to be Done framework it would be easy to discover why he thought the slab was cheaper, but he is a five year old with autism and in our case he was right.

So the only job to be done with his comment was to use the experience for a blog.

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