Design Prioritization & The Kano Model

7 Mar, 2012

It happens to every project—there are a dozen feature requests in your backlog, but your team only has enough time to implement no more than four of them before the next scheduled product release date. Normally, you do one of the following:

Here’s another option to prioritize what matters: The Kano Model.

Using The Kano Model To Prioritize Your Feature Set

The Kano model is a product development and customer satisfaction theory that was developed in the 1980s by quality management consultant, Noriaki Kano. The Kano Model charts three attributes across two dimensions/axis.

Kano Model Axis and Attributes

In terms of prioritization, let’s focus on the three attributes in the context of designing a new toaster (mmmmm, toast): Basic, Performance and Excitement/Delight.

In order to aid the prioritization process, add one of the Kano Model attributes to each item in your backlog. Clearly, anything classified as Basic must be included. The tricky part is applying value to Performance vs. Delight attributes. You can have a solid product that meets user expectations based solely on their Basic and Performance attributes. But if you’re trying to make a splash and leverage word of mouth to build buzz & market share, consider including a feature that will surprise and delight your customers.

For more on the Kano Model check out:

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