Product management glosary

Kano Model

What is Kano Model?


Kano Model is a product management tool that helps in identifying and categorizing customer needs and wants. It was developed by Professor Noriaki Kano in the 1980s. The model is used to understand the relationship between customer satisfaction and product features.

The Three Categories of Customer Needs

The Kano Model categorizes customer needs into three categories: basic needs, performance needs, and excitement needs. Basic needs are the minimum requirements that a customer expects from a product. These needs are essential for the product to be considered functional. For example, a car must have a steering wheel, brakes, and an engine to be considered functional. Performance needs are the features that enhance the product's performance and increase customer satisfaction. These needs are not essential but are expected by the customer. For example, a car with air conditioning and power windows is considered to have performance needs. Excitement needs are the features that exceed customer expectations and create delight. These needs are not expected by the customer but can differentiate the product from its competitors. For example, a car with a built-in GPS system and a sunroof is considered to have excitement needs.

The Kano Model Graph

The Kano Model graph is used to plot the relationship between customer satisfaction and product features. The graph has two axes: the x-axis represents the level of product feature, and the y-axis represents the level of customer satisfaction. The graph has five categories: must-be, one-dimensional, attractive, indifferent, and reverse. The must-be category represents the basic needs, the one-dimensional category represents the performance needs, and the attractive category represents the excitement needs. The indifferent category represents the features that do not affect customer satisfaction, and the reverse category represents the features that decrease customer satisfaction.


The Kano Model is a useful tool for product managers to understand customer needs and wants. By categorizing customer needs into three categories and plotting them on a graph, product managers can prioritize product features and create products that exceed customer expectations.