J.D. Meier's Blog

Software Engineering, Project Management, and Effectiveness

Kano, Satisfiers, and Dissatisfiers

Kano, Satisfiers, and Dissatisfiers

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If you're looking for yet another way to help you prioritize your backlog or to help you shape your product's design, consider the Kano model. One concept in the Kano model is satisfiers and dissatisfiers.  You can think of satisfiers as features you might ask for.  You can think of a dissatisfier as an unmet need.  It's something you wouldn't necessarily ask for (latent need.)  You just expect it. It's absence is a dissatisfier.

Examples
Here's a few examples:

  • As a colleague put it, if you buy a new car, you might ask about features of the engine or luxuries, but you just expect it to have a speedometer.  If there's no speedometer, you'll be dissatisfied.
  • Spelling more words correctly won't make your article great.  At the same time, consider the negative impact of spelling a bunch of words incorrectly (dissatisfiers)

Key Points
Here's the keys:

  • At some point, adding more satisfiers doesn't necessarily increase satisfaction.
  • Addressing a dissatisfier doesn't necessarily increase your satisfaction.
  • Not addressing a dissatisfier can exponentially decrease satisfaction.

Applied Use

  • You can imagine the impact on a product design.  You add a bunch of features (satisfiers), but ignore some dissatisfiers (performance, security, reliability, usability.)  That's a common pattern in failed product designs.
  • You can think in terms of your job.  Do you deliver satisfiers or do you reduce dissatisfiers?  Some "dissatisfier"jobs are undervalued or unappreciated until disaster strikes, then their exponential value becomes obvious.
  • You can think in terms of your life.  Do you add satisfiers or do you decrease dissatisfiers?  could reducing a few dissatisfiers exponentially improve your life?

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