The Kano model is not really new, and it’s actually quite popular in many organizations nowadays. Its benefits are easy to see, and the model itself is intuitive and flexible enough to be applied to many different contexts. It can sometimes be difficult to convince the leadership of an organization that they should work with the Kano model, which is why it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the basic benefits that it provides to a company’s ability to satisfy their customers better.
Customer Requirements at the Forefront
Getting things right for your customer should be your top priority, but unfortunately not every development/production model works in that direction, or at least not on an immediate level. There are many ways you could potentially please your user base, and if you’re not careful, you may easily find yourself lost in a whirlwind of requirements.
One thing that the Kano model does well is that it allows you to prioritize the project requirements that truly matter, and put everything else to the side. Kano’s primary goal is to identify the three types of needs that your customers will have, and after you’ve pinpointed them, you’ll be able to focus on the ones that result in the biggest improvements in customer satisfaction.
Or in Kano terms, you’ll know which needs are “must-be”, and you’ll focus your efforts on them. Of course, it’s also important to pay attention to the other types of needs – that’s why Kano identifies them in the first place – but in a slightly different manner
Trimming Waste from Your Production
When you know that a certain need falls in the “indifferent” category, you’ll be able to avoid putting any significant amounts of work into it, taking away a large portion of waste from the workflow of the company in most cases. On the other hand, features that provide a one-dimensional relationship with the satisfaction of your users can be brought up to a baseline level that allows you to build on them and add more attractive features.
Waste is one of the least favorite words of lean leaders, and if you’re having trouble convincing your organization that Kano is the right model for its production style, then you should just spend some time discussing the potential benefits in waste reduction. Make sure you bring up some concrete examples related to past failures of the company to satisfy the needs of its customers, and present Kano as a tool that can reduce those incidents by a good degree.
Adapting Kano to Your Own Specific Organization
Sooner or later you’ll find that some of the needs of your customers don’t exactly fit in the three categories outlined by Kano. That’s not an indicator that something is wrong in your organization, and it’s actually not a rare occurrence in companies with a more complicated workflow and/or advanced products. The important thing is to remember that Kano can be very flexible when used right, and you should look into adapting it to the specific needs of your company when the time for that comes.
Don’t go too deep though, you can probably make some simple changes to the model and get great results, especially if you’re already experienced in applying Kano to your specific company’s workflow. A single extra category can often resolve the problem completely, and if that doesn’t work, it may be time to reevaluate how you’re approaching your product development and what exactly you’re trying to accomplish in terms of customer response.
Kano is by far one of the most useful tools in the business world, and it can produce great results with relatively little effort if you’re experienced enough in its application. Once you’ve developed a strong intuition for what Kano is all about, you’ll find yourself applying it to all sorts of projects with ease and without even putting too much thought into it. And once it becomes such an integral part of your toolset, you’ll find your own productivity increasing noticeably when working on your projects.