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7. Techniques

7.5 Kano Analysis

Agile Extension to the BABOK® Guide

Kano Analysis is used to understand which product characteristics or qualities will prove to be a significant differentiator in the marketplace and help to drive customer satisfaction.

Kano Analysis is a process used to identify features which are viewed by customers as threshold, performance, excitement, or indifferent. This helps determine which features are most important to implement before releasing a solution to market.

Threshold or basic features must be present for customers to be satisfied. These are features they expect.

Performance features customers view as the more the better.

Excitement are features a customer doesn't know they want until they see it. Indifferent are features the customer doesn't want.

Kano Analysis rates product characteristics on two axes measuring the dysfunctional and functional customer satisfaction for a feature.

The resulting graph is plotted on a matrix. Based on the resulting profile, the product characteristics fall into one of four categories:

  • threshold characteristics,

  • performance characteristics,

  • excitement characteristics, and

  • indifferent characteristics.

This analysis can help identify features that will give the solution a unique position in the marketplace based on business value to achieve.

Figure 7.5.1: Kano Analysis Graph



.1 Threshold Characteristics

Threshold characteristics are those that are absolutely necessary for stakeholders to consider adopting a solution. Their absence will cause intense dissatisfaction but, as they represent minimum acceptance criteria, their presence will not dramatically increase customer satisfaction. The challenge with eliciting requirements for these features is that people expect them to be present and so tend not to think about them unless explicitly asked.

.2 Performance Characteristics

Performance characteristics are those for which increases in the delivery of the characteristic produce a fairly linear increase in satisfaction. They represent the features that customers expect to see in a solution (speed, ease of use, etc.).

Requirements for these types of features are likely to most readily come to mind for the majority of stakeholders.

.3 Excitement Characteristics

Excitement characteristics are those that significantly exceed customer expectations or represent things the customer did not recognize were possible. Their presence will dramatically increase customer satisfaction over time. As these characteristics are not met by anything currently on the market, stakeholders will not tend to think about requirements that describe them.

.4 Indifferent Characteristics
Indifferent characteristics are those which add no value to the customer, and the customer does not want. These characteristics are not used. They are not represented on the graph because it will negatively affect customer satisfaction and degree of achievement.

.5 Determine the Category

Categorization is based on two forms of a question about a feature:

  • Functional form: How do you feel if this feature or characteristic is present in the product?

  • Dysfunctional form: How do you feel if this feature or characteristic is absent in the product?

Possible answers to each question form are:

  • I like it that way.

  • I expect it to be that way.

  • I am neutral.

  • I can live with it that way.

  • I dislike it that way.

The answers are mapped on the functional/dysfunctional grid. The top row represents the answers to the dysfunctional form of the question. The left column represents the answers to the functional form of the question.

Table 7.5.1: Kano Analysis Questions Grid


.6 Legend

  • E = Excitement

  • P = Performance

  • T = Threshold

  • I = Indifferent (Does not fit into one of the three categories)

  • Q or R = Questionable or Reversed (the answer doesn’t make sense)

.1 Strengths

  • Is applicable for consumer and non-consumer solutions as it focuses on identifying requirements that will encourage widespread use or adoption of a product.

  • Analysis can determine feature priority based on the desired position in the marketplace.

.2 Limitations

  • Only identifies customer satisfaction. Other factors must be included for backlog prioritization.

  • The categorization of a particular characteristic tends to shift over time, as customers grow to expect features or characteristics to be present in a product. Excitementeventuallybecomeastandardexpectationandthreshold characteristic (think of the novelty of Google search when first introduced; now customers assume all search responses will be similar).