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Kano Model
Product Backlog Prioritization Technique

Product Backlog Prioritization Kano Model

The Kano model was developed by Prof. Noriaki Kano during 1980s. Kano model basically classifies customer preferences into five categories for customer satisfaction. This is one of the most popularly used product backlog prioritization technique.

To identify the 5 classification in Kano model, for each functionality, two questions would be asked to the user/customer. 
1. How would you feel if this functionality is “PRESENT” ?
2. How would you feel if this functionality is “ABSENT” ?

With following options to choose from,
“I Like It”, “I Expect It”, “I’m Neutral”, “I Can Live”, “I Hate It”.

Classification of Requirements : Kano Model

Kano Model - Basic / Must Have

Kano Model Product Backlog Prioritization

Basic or Must Have are those functionalities, that are default expectation from the customer. If these functionalities are absent then customers are highly dissatisfied. 

It’s not a good strategy to have marketing and sales based on these Must Have functionalities as every competitor / product have to present these must have functionalities. 

Kano Model - Attractive / Excitement

Product Backlog Prioritization Kano Model Attractive

Attractive or Exciters are those functionalities, that delight and are pleasant surprise. Since these functionalities were not expected by the customer. These functionalities highly satisfy customers. 

Attractive functions make a good sales strategy, since it brings the wow & surprise factor, it increases the entry barrier for competitor / new product.  

Kano Model - Linear / Performance

Kano Model Product Backlog Prioritization Linear

Customers always look for more, in fact certain functionalities that are always in demand and customers ask more of them are Linear / Performance functionalities. these functionalities give the competitive advantage over the other products 
Over a period of time, “exciters” & “performance” functionalities before “must have”

Kano Model - Reverse

Product Backlog Prioritization Kano Model Reverse

Presence of certain functionalities create discomfort to the customers and they never want to see such functionalities. They fall under Reverse or Inverse list. Avoid these functionalities. Remember, someone’s “reverse” could be someone else’s “must have”

Handling reverse functionalities is very tricky, they might result in very good revenue generation when they are strategically planned. 

Kano Model - Indifferent

Product Backlog Prioritization Kano Model Indifferent

When the customer’s emotions and satisfaction are neutral irrespective of the functionality present or absent. In fact these functional should be planned well, Over a period of time, removing the functionality shall be challenging.

Indifferent functionalities are very challenging, sometime product owners tend to priorities these just because their competitors have it. 

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Kano Model for Product Backlog Prioritization is best when the product functionalities are direct end user focused and interfaced. Having direct emotional feedback related to each functionality helps product owner manage value, competitiveness and Go-To Market strategies.  

Product Owner shall strategically prioritize “attractive” & “performance” functionality. 

Just sufficient “must have” and “indifferent” functionalities to be relevant in the market. These functionalities if absent might damage the buying desire.  

“Reverse” are double edge sword, they should be considered very carefully. 

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Author:  Naveen Nanjundappa, Certified Scrum Trainer

12 Principles Consulting Naveen NanjundappaWell known for his unique teaching style, Mr. Naveen Nanjundappa has over 19 years of service in IT industry, with experience in most of the standard roles of software development life cycle such as developer, tester, leader, manager of projects and products. He was introduced to XP & Scrum in 2005. Following his passion for coaching, he has spent last 8 years coaching agile transformation, Scrum teams, trained over 4000+ people from various organizations. Expertise in Scrum, Leadership Agility, Organizational Agility, Process Agility, Team Agility, Product Management & Project Management.

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