What Is It?

MoSCoW method is known to be an efficient prioritization technique often used in business analysis, management, project management and software development. This method is used to reach a common and detailed understanding with some stakeholders. This is especially true with regard to the significance of placing a delivery basing from all necessary requirements. This is also known as MoSCoW analysis or MoSCoW prioritization.

MoSCoW is an acronym that is derived from the first letter of each prioritization categories with the interstitial addition of Os to make the complete word even more pronounceable. While Os are found in the lower cases that indicate that they do not stand for something, they are all capitalized.

How to Use It?  

As far as MoSCoW method is concerned, you could just make use of it when you will prioritize all the needed requirements. Developers who use this kind of method must deliver all necessary requirements that include the following:

  1. Must Have

These are really essential to the timebox’s current delivery to acquire success. If one of the must have requirements is not presented, the delivery of the project will be considered as a failure.

  1. Should Have

These are the requirements which are essential but not as essential as the must have requirements. But, despite the same significance that it covers as the must have requirements, these pieces do not need to be time-critical. You can choose some other ways to completely satisfy these requirements.

  1. Could Have

These are the requirements which only aim to enhance the satisfaction of the customer and experience of users with little cost on the development. This will be required if resources and time permits are required.

  1. Won’ Have

These are the requirements which have been agreed on by some stakeholders as the least critical ones, not appropriate and the lowest payback. These are not planned requirements which can be either reconsidered or dropped for inclusion.

When you already have these requirements, you’re already sure to make use of the MoSCoW method.

When to Use It?

MoSCoW is primarily used in timeboxing wherein you are given fixed deadline with a strong focus on the most essential requirements you need. With such idea in mind, this method is usually used in some agile kind of approaches in software development such as DSDM, RAD or rapid application development and Scrum.

Concrete Examples

For instance, a team who has a lot of potential epics can make use of MoSCoW method for the next release of their product. They would only need to select which of the epics belong to the Should Have and Must Have requirements. Oftentimes, any team can find that to help them identify the minimum viable product.

After that, they can already make use of the MoSCoW method to determine what kinds of features belong to Should Have, Must Have and so on to meet the needs of the users. If there are also some sufficient capacities in selecting minimum viable product, then the team can also plan of associating the Could Have and Should Have items.

— Slimane Zouggari