Archive 27/02/2024.

Where to position customer requirements?


Where do you position the customer requirements on the evolution axis?

At the moment I am using Wardley maps to think about business units / lines of business rather than whole companies. In this context, I haven’t seen any rules for where to position the customer requirements on the evolution / maturity scale, and thought that some guidelines might be helpful.

In the 1990s, noted Japanese quality guru Noriako Kano suggested that customer requirements could be considered to fall into three groups, depending on the relationship between how well the quality attribute is realised and how the customer feels about the outcome.

  • “Must have” requirements don’t excite the customer when done well, but can cause dissatisfaction if done poorly – think reliability for a car.
  • “Wanted” requirements roughly scale – the better done, the happier the customer – think performance or fuel economy for a car.
  • “Delight” requirements can make the customer happy by virtue of existing at all – think self-drive for a car.

Intuitively, it would appear that these categories correspond broadly to the maturity of the product delivering the requirement.

  • “Must have” is a characteristic of a commodity or utility
  • “Wanted” is a characteristic of a product / service
  • “Delight” is a characteristic of a genesis or custom-built offering.

As with economic evolution of technology, yesterday’s “delight” is today’s “wanted” and tomorrow’s “must have”.

So, when thinking about the customer requirement, consider whether it is “must have”, “wanted”, or “delight” and position accordingly from left to right on the evolution spectrum!

Robert Lamb


Or shouldn’t user needs rather be visible on the value-/y-axis? Eg delight more valuable than must? And the need fulfillment is on the x-axis? :thinking:


Thanks Martti. I’m trying to work out a practice for positioning elements on the maps, so welcome all feedback. At present I’m conceptualising the y-axis in terms of proximity (visibility) to the customer rather than relative value to the customer. So the customer needs are then in a row below the customer, and the next level down is the user experience - what they directly engage with, followed by the production process, production management, internal capabilities and external capabilities (will write this up and post for comment). I’m not sure how to represent the relative priority of the needs, or if that needs to be captured on the W map. One could colour / size / shape code if that would help tell the story - also I would think that the map shows only the major needs because it is very much a helicopter view.


Ok, thanks for the clarification. Probably I could have got this from your original message if I had spent more time trying to understand what I was reading :slight_smile: But when one comes via a tweet to sthg, he usually spends too little time. Have to return to the text.