Learning to prioritize: product analysis using the Kano Model | by Takuma Kakehi | Jan, 2024


While exploring another product prioritization method for one of my quarterly team exercises, I came across Kano Model. Developed by Professor Noriaki Kano in the 1980s, it emerged as a framework for understanding customer satisfaction and prioritizing features in product development. Professor Kano, a Japanese academic and quality management expert, aimed to go beyond traditional customer satisfaction models by introducing a more nuanced approach.

After conducting a team exercise inspired by Kano Model, I decided to revisit its basic concepts and share my findings. This first section breaks down the basic mechanics of Kano Model. In the following section, I aim to demonstrate the model in a real-world example using airlines. In the last section, I’ll share my takeaways from using the model as a product discussion tool in my team exercise.

Kano Model classifies customer preferences into five types: Basic Needs (essential features), Performance Needs (linear satisfaction/dissatisfaction), Excitement (delighters), Indifferent Needs (features with no significant impact), and Reverse Needs (features causing dissatisfaction). By categorizing these types, the model helps businesses prioritize their service offerings, ensuring they meet essential requirements while incorporating elements that delight customers and staying on top of their changing preferences.

Step 1: Ask customers (Functional and Dysfunctional Questions)

The Kano Model utilizes a structured survey designed to inquire about customer preferences and satisfaction levels regarding specific product or service features. What’s interesting about Kano Model is how it employs a two-part question approach for each feature. The first part, known as a Functional Question, asks how customers would react if a particular feature were perfectly implemented. On the other hand, the second part, a Dysfunctional Question, explores how customers would feel if the same feature were absent.

Step 2: Categorize responses


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