P14029: Robotic Fish

Identify Customer Needs

Table of Contents

Step 1. Gather Raw Data From Customers

Interactions with Customers

Prepare a report on your customer interactions. Following the text by Ulrich and Eppinger, this report may include

  1. Transcripts of Interview(s) with customers
  2. Audio Recordings
  3. Notes
  4. Video Recordings
  5. Still Photography

Provide a transcript, or at least a paraphrased version of the interviews that you conduct. Allow the students interested in this project to understand the types of questions you asked the sponsor, and to hear how the sponsor responded. Be sure to note the date, time, location, and participants in the interview. The format below may be helpful.

First Sponsor Interview
Interviewers: I.M. Student, S.R. Yu
Sponsor: Ms. Smith
Date 1 September 2006, Mobil Conference Room
Interviewer: First we would like to introduce ourselves ....
Would you please introduce yourself as well?
Sponsor: My name is Ms. Smith, and I have been with my company for 73 years. I am interested in working with your design team because ...
Interviewer: Question 2 ....
Sponsor: Response 2 ...
Interviewer: Question 3 ....
Sponsor: Response 3 ...
Interviewer: Question 4 ....
Sponsor: Response 4 ...

This is a great place to include an affinity diagram constructed in collaboration with the customer, a fcous group, or peer students, as a graphical representation of raw data associated with customer needs.

Step 2. Interpret Raw Data in Terms of Customer Needs

  1. Express the need in terms of what the product has to do, not in terms of how the product might do it.
  2. Express the need as specifically as the raw data.
  3. Use positive phrasing
  4. Express the needs as attributes of the product

Step 3. Organize the Needs into a Hierarchy

After listing the needs in list order here, this is a great place to include an objective tree as a graphical representation of your interpretation of the customer needs.

Step 4. Establish the Relative Importance of the Needs

Needs Summary
Need The Product Needs to Importance
Need 1.1
Need 1.2
Need 2.1
Need 2.2
Need 2.3
Need 2.4

Step 5. Reflect on the Results and the Process