Chris Chapman
Proceedings of the 2022 Sawtooth Software Conference, May 2022 Orlando, FL, Sawtooth Software(2022)


The Kano method gives a “compelling” answer to questions about features, but it is impossible to know whether it is a correct answer. To put it differently, it will tell a story— quite possibly an incorrect story. This is because the standard Kano questions are low quality survey items, often paired with questionable theory and scoring. The concepts are based on durable consumer goods and may be inapplicable for technology products. We follow our theoretical assessment of the Kano method with empirical studies to examine the response scale, reliability, validity, and sample size requirements. We find that Kano validity is suspect on several counts, and a common scoring model is inappropriate because the items are multidimensional. Beyond the questions about validity, we find that category assignment may be unreliable with small samples (N < 200). Finally, we suggest alternatives that obtain similarly compelling answers using higher quality survey methods and analytic practices.