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Mapping The Jobs-To-Be-Done Opportunity Index Onto Kano

Last week’s article we talked about how to use opportunity index scores to identify important underserved outcomes that represent real innovation opportunities as well as identifying overserved outcomes that provide little opportunity for further innovation, and perhaps an opportunity to reduce cost by simplifying features & functions that have become too overserved or eliminating features that are unimportant.

Kano Model – A Useful Tool That Compliments the Opportunity Index

The Kano Model is an excellent tool to support product specification and stimulating understanding  and debate within the design team as to what customers really want. Developed in the 80’s by Professor Noriaki Kano, the model is based on the concepts of customer quality and provides a ranking scheme which distinguishes between essential and differentiating attributes.

The full Kano methodology is quite extensive (More on the Kano Model ) and beyond the scope of this article. For our discussion, we will use Kano as a visualization tool to help us translate opportunity index scores into differentiated product features.

Note that opportunity scores do not map directly into Kano because opportunity scores focus on prioritizing customer’s outcomes, and Kano focuses on rating product features and attributes.

However, once we understand which outcomes to focus innovation on (index scores greater than 12 for example), the design process yields a set of features and attributes optimized on delivering high opportunity outcomes. These features and attributes can then be mapped onto Kano.

Using Kano, we can  plot our features and attributes along three main product characteristics that affect the customer’s satisfaction. Product characteristics can be classified as:

Must Have’s or Threshold / Basic attributes

Attributes which must be present in order for the product to be successful.(See Figure 1). If not fulfilled, the customer will be extremely dissatisfied. However, the customer takes these requirements for granted, their fulfillment will not increase his satisfaction.  But if they are not fulfilled, the customer will be dissatisfied or perhaps will not even consider hiring our solution to get his jobs done.

Often these features address desired outcomes that are overserved in the market. Nevertheless, they need to be presence and implemented at a “good enough” level of satisfaction.  Opportunity index scores of 10 or less are likely to be addressed by these features.


Figure 1:  Must have’s features

Want’s or One Dimensional Attributes

These characteristics are directly correlated to customer satisfaction (See Figure 2). Increased functionality or quality of execution will result in increased customer satisfaction. Conversely, decreased functionality results in greater dissatisfaction.

One-dimensional requirements are usually explicitly demanded by the customer. However, if the development team just focuses on “want’s”  this can lead to “me-too” products and/or specmanship (i.e. overserved outcomes). Opportunity index scores in the middle of pack most likely will translate into “Want’s” on Kano.

"Want's" or  One Dimensional Attributes

Figure 2:  Want’s or One Dimensional Attributes

Wow’s or Attractive Attributes (Exciters / Delighters)

These are the unexpected surprises that meet customers’ unspoken desires and make their experience great (see figure 3). Customers get great satisfaction from “wow” features, and are willing to pay a price premium. Fulfilling these requirements leads to more than proportional satisfaction (customers are “wowed” by them). If they are not met though, there is no feeling of dissatisfaction since they weren’t expected.

“Wow” requirements are neither explicitly expressed nor expected by the customers. By focusing on desired outcomes, and not solutions, the design team improves its ability to identify potential “wows.”  Opportunity scores of 15 or greater could very well yield “wow” attributes.

"Wow" Features

Figure 3 Wow’s and Excitement Attributes

Indifferent Attributes

These attributes refer to aspects that are neither good nor bad, and they do not result in either customer satisfaction or customer dissatisfaction (see figure 4). Thus they are candidates for elimination. They only add cost and deliver no value. Opportunity index scores of 10 or less can help identified indifferent attributes on a Kano map.

Neutral or "Don't Care" features

Figure 4: Neutral Attributes – Don’t Cares

Overtime Wow’s become Want’s, Want’s become Must’s

Customer expectations change over time. A Bluetooth interface in your car may be a “wow” feature today, but over time, all new cars will have Bluetooth connectivity to allow your smart phone to integrate with the car’s electronics (i.e. stereo system).

In the not too distant future (and maybe even today because I haven’t shopped for  a new car recently), customers will expect (must have) Bluetooth on all new cars like they expect a radio to be installed on today’s models.  See figure 5

Overtime Wow's become Must's

Figure 5: Overtime Wow’s become Must’s

Final thoughts on Opportunity Index and Kano

As we design features and functions to address high opportunity outcomes, we can use Kano to give us a full picture of requirements that will attract new customers to our solutions. We can identify the minimum set of features that we “must-have” while using our opportunity index to identify potential “wow’s” that will make our solution the desired choice for our targeted job executer.

Jobs-to-be-done opportunity index and Kano used together will help the development team design solutions that focus on customer value while eliminating features that customer’s don’t need additional improvements and/or perhaps don’t want at all.

Keep visualizing to imagine the best product definition that will win customers over to your solution!


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