New Prioritization Strategy – KANO Analysis

In our never ending quest to give you exactly what you want, Mailtrust is employing new strategies to identify and prioritize our product roadmap. Developed in the 1980’s by Dr Noriaki Kano, KANO Analysis is gaining momentum among IT companies using Agile development methods. In the world of development, there are unlimited product possibilities and unlimited opinions on which products are the most important. Using KANO analysis, Product Managers have the ammo to say, “We need this feature now or we’re going to lose customers.” Mailtrust just finished our first round of KANO Analysis, asking customers two key questions:
(1) How would you feel if Mailtrust offered this new product?
(2) How would you feel if Mailtrust DID NOT offer this new product?
These answers tell us how “mandatory” future enhancements are to our current and potential customers. A typical survey might ask, “Would you like to have Active Directory synchronization?” Plenty of users would say “yes.” But KANO gives us the tools to separate those who said yes into those who must have the feature and those who wouldn’t mind having the feature. Customers that must have the feature might look to other companies if we don’t provide it. While customers that wouldn’t mind a feature are fine without it or okay with putting it on the backburner.
So far, we’ve gotten some powerful input from our users. What do our customers want? Email archiving, Active Directory synchronization, and SharePoint. Now that we know what’s most important, we can give customers the things they must have, as well as, some neat bells and whistles they wouldn’t mind having.
Want to know more about KANO? Check out a great explanation of the process or take a look at my favorite video on the subject.

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  1. Hey Steve, that’s a great question.  KANO does not specify a weighting scale, so it’s up to the person distributing the survey to make sure they have a sample that is representative of the whole.  Whenever doing surveys (especially ones like KANO that can be confusing to the participant) it’s important to remember that everyone you send this to isn’t going to take the survey.

    A participation rate of only 30% is actually great, but I would be prepared to have even lower participation in KANO.  I’ve found that if the survey is distributed through email, its worth it to provide a small explanation of the KANO process, that way users don’t bail as soon as they see something they’re not used to.

    Keeping the participation rate in mind, if I wanted 50 responses, I would send my survey to around 350-400 users.  If you check out the link to the video in the blog, he briefly touches on this.  If you don’t have time to sit and watch for an hour, tune in around 20 minutes for the good stuff!


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