The Minimum Delightful Product Continuum and how delight impacts the customer journey

The Minimum Delightful Product Continuum

Expected vs Delightful Features

The Japanese are fanatical in how they think about quality, best exemplified by lean manufacturing and the Toyota Manufacturing System. They have two words, atarimae hinshitsu and miryokuteki hinshitsu, which describe the two different types of quality that exist in products. Aatarimae hinshitsu describes things that work as expected. Miryokuteki hinshitsu describes things that have unusual beauty or delight. I believe this is a great framework for how we could think about product features. Product features can either be expected or delightful.

A product with both expected and delightful features

MDPC and the Customer Journey

Simply talking about expected versus delightful features would leave this process empty. The delightful features must be thought through in the context of the customer journey.

Consider

Potential users consider your product when your product meets their set of minimum expected features. These potential users generally know what they are trying to do when looking for a product and they use this expectation to either reject or consider a product. How you talk about your product and how people understand your product are the building blocks of whether or not your product is even considered.

Buy

Once users feel that a product has enough features and a basic sense of confidence that the features will work for them, they become paying customers. But you’re not in the clear yet. All you’ve done is meet initial expectations. Once they start using your product, they will develop expectations that they didn’t know they had.

Loyal

Once they’ve made the purchase, it’s your opportunity to shine. Delightful features will move a paying customer to a loyal customer who buys over and over. This is the first milestone of seeing which delightful features work and getting feedback from customers that they like your product. This is where you have built a product you can be proud of.

Fan

Don’t stop at loyal customers! It isn’t enough to build a business where you have loyal people who only keep buying your products. For a business to thrive, it must have people who are fans, people who tell others about your products. When you have the right combination of expected and delightful features, you’ve gotten to that place where people love your product. And when you love something, you naturally tell others about it. Think about what they share with others. Do they talk about the features that met their expectations or the features that created delight? If you want word-of-mouth, you have to create delight.

Expectation Creep

How Tesla’s Ludicrous Mode feels

Product Continuum

This product management system should be thought of as a continuously iterative process (a continuum) applying to the first product and every product iteration thereafter. Too much emphasis is given to the first, go-to-market, product rather than emphasizing a disciplined and continuous approach to product development. Whether it’s finding product-market fit or refreshing a product after maturity, the Minimum Delightful Product Continuum applies.

Speaking of Fighting the Good Fight…

What you, as a product leader, are doing does matter. You have an incredible opportunity to help and make a difference in people’s lives. You have the privilege of working with talented people to create things that reflect humanity. I believe people thrive when they create and that’s what you get to do. Have gratitude and work to create delight in this world.

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Jason Jeong

Jason Jeong

Product Leader @Ramsey Solutions, Startup Co-Founder & Successful Exit @Promio, Family Man, BJJ Nut. Learn More: https://jasonjeong.com