MoSCoW technique

MoSCoW technique
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Methods and techniques

The MoSCoW technique is a universal method used, for example, in project management that allows understanding and prioritization, which aims to provide the project team with clear guidance on the importance of the order of requirements.This is one of the scheduling techniques that is important in the decision-making process. The single letters of the method are derived from the English expressions Must have (necessary), Should have (recommended), Could have (useful) and Would not it be nice to have or Will not have. Each item can be matched to one category. The MoSCoW technique must therefore be used with care, as there is always the desire to assign all functions as necessary. In order to stop such an unfavorable effect, it is possible to apply the principle according to which in each category should not be less than 20 percent of all functions. Moscow technique is present in the Method of creating dynamic systems DSDM (Dynamic Systems Development Method).

Characteristics of the MoSCoW technique

According to A Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge, Moscow technique distinguishes four categories: Must, Should, Could, Will not.

  • Must - describes the requirements that must be met in the final solution to be considered effective
  • Should- represents a high priority position that should be included in the solution if it is possible. This is often a critical requirement, but also one that can be met in a different way if it is absolutely necessary.
  • Could- describes a requirement deemed desirable, but not necessary. Will be included if time and resources allow it
  • Won't- presents a requirement that if the stakeholders agree, it will not be implemented in a given release, but it can be considered in the future.


Prioritization of the MoSCoW technique requirements

An important factor in the success of any project is to ensure that the requirements are prioritized.The MoSCoW technique is the simplest method of prioritization. Its presentation takes the least time and leads to high certainty of its usefulness. Skilful application of priorities in managing tasks, can determine our success or failure. The priorities indicate to us which tasks we should carry out in the first place, and which can simply be postponed until later:

  • Must have - describes the smallest possible set of requirements that the project provides in the final product. If at least one requirement with a MUST priority was missing, it would mean a failure of the project. describe the most unfavorable from the business point of view, but an acceptable case,
  • Should have- these are business-critical requirements, but not essential for the proper functioning of the final product of the project. They can thus be omitted without being adversely affected, and can be attached to the project area to maintain it on the baseline path. Their omission can be complicated and expensive,
  • Could have - expected from a business point of view, but less important for the functionality of the final product of the project. Their oversight has less impact on the functionality of the end product than disregarding the requirements of the Have Have priority. They can be attached to the scope of the project without adverse effects. Their workaround is cheap and easy,
  • Will not have - according to the findings of the project team with business representatives, they will not be used in the final product of the project (they may be delivered at a different time). therefore, they exist outside the scope of the project in a specific, rigid timeframe of its implementation. They improve the management of business expectations, although they will not be included in the final product delivered by the project team.

Application of MoSCoW as part of timeboxes

Timeboxing, defines priorities for research and implementation based on the allocation of fixed assets. It is used when the approach to the solution was fixed. It expresses the priorities of the requirements based on the amount of work that the project team is able to deliver at a given time. This approach is most often used when it is necessary to meet the set deadline or for solutions that are corrected frequently and regularly. The initial priorities of the MoSCoW work within Timebox, as well as a continuous reassessment of what can be achieved in the agreed schedule , guarantees that thanks to Timeboxes everything will be completed on time each time.The use of MoSCoW as part of Timeboxes is also helpful in practical use, as it works on a given project. Timeboxes can contain several tasks and at the end they must provide a product. They may change if tasks are defined but not necessarily provided. They can change if the change of prioritization during Timebox iteration allows for quick response to business needs. In short, DSDM rather limits the functionality for completing the task on time. Time boxes are not a cure for all time slips. In some cases, it may be the case that the cost of excessive time is less than the decrease in some functions and this is probably the case when the new feature "Must have" appears.

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