MoSCoW Prioritization

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Every project needs to be planned and successful planning is half of the work. One scope of planning process is the prioritisation of the requested features. Sometimes the clients ask us if it is possible to develop some request of theirs. Of course it is possible, it is just a matter of time and budget. When the client has many feature requests and many ideas for its project, it is important to include prioritization in planning process. One of the good methods is to use a set of words that have meaning such as the MoSCoW method. This method can require that clients make some hard choices.

The method is important for everybody: The Client, The Project Manager and The Developers. It helps all the members to clearly understand the customers’ requirements and their priority. Many projects start with the hint list of requirements, only to find later that the customers’ needs have not been properly understood. Once prioritized, the project manager and the developers will know in what order to develop them and which won’t be delivered if there is pressure on resources.

The MoSCoW system of prioritisation groups items into the following levels

Must
Features in this group must be completed or there will be no product. Those requirements are non-negotiable and have to be delivered. Failure to deliver even one of the must requirements means the project is a failure.
Should
Items in this group should be developed if we want a competitive product. If we don’t do these then we can still have a product but not a nice one..
Could
Items in this group are those we could do if we had some extra time in our schedule. They are the ”’nice to have”’, the frills.
Would
Items in this group are those we would do if we had all the time and all the resources in the world but really don’t add a lot of value to the product. In some descriptions this is also described as won’t, but is little too negative, but in all reality items in this group won’t be done this time.

To deliver a successful project, it is essential that a clear set of prioritized requirements are agreed with the customer along with the overall objective, quality, timescale and budget. We strongly recommend this method for prioritizing requirements.


About Tomislav Bilic

Founder and CEO

Tomislav is a founder and CEO at Inchoo. Enjoys traveling - especially quick getaways, traditional cuisine (from most cultures), good wine and strong rakija.

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2 comments

  1. This is heavy mate, surprisingly, many tend to overlook the power of “MoSCOW” during requirements analysis and end up with some random requirements, which will obviously put development phase on no proper path /plan. (If not careful that is)

    Thank for the post

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