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Jan 4 in Agile
Q: How the Kano Model Works

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Jan 4

Using the Kano Model, product teams pull together a list of potential new features vying for development resources and space on the roadmap. The team will then weigh these features according to two competing criteria:

Their potential to satisfy customers.

The investment needed to implement them.

In fact, you can also think of the Kano Model as the “Customer Delight vs. Implementation Investment” approach.

a line chart demonstrating how the kano model may look

Kano model feature categories

The Kano Model identifies three types of initiatives product teams will want to develop. We will discuss those below. It’s also worth pointing out, however, that the model also identifies two types of features you will want to keep off of your roadmap:

“indifferent” features, which customers won’t care about.

“dissatisfaction” features, which will upset customers.

Under the Kano Model, the three categories of initiatives that could earn a slot on your roadmap include:

Basic (threshold) features

These are features your product needs to be competitive. Customers expect these features (such as a car’s turn signal) and take them for granted. This means they must be included. And, it they don’t work as expected they may lead to dissatisfaction.

Performance features

These are features that give you a proportionate increase in customer satisfaction as you invest in them. One example would be increasing file storage capacity in an online app. Dr. Noriaki described this type of feature as “one-dimensional” because of the direct, linear correlation between how much you invest in it and the amount of customer satisfaction it delivers. These are also features customers know they want and weigh heavily when deciding whether to choose your product or your competitor’s.

Excitement features

Excitement features yield a disproportionate increase in customer delight as you invest in them. If you don’t have these features, customers might not even miss them; but if you include them, and continue to invest in them, you will create dramatic customer delight. You can also think of these features as the unique innovations and surprises you include in your product. Dr. Noriaki called these “attractive” features and “delighters” because they had that effect on users, and that delight can create an outsized positive response to your product.

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