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MoSCoW PrioritisationMoSCoW Prioritisation

MoSCow Prioritisation plays a key role in Agile Project Management. In an Agile project it is vital to understand the importance of different things. This is because time is a fixed resource, so prioritisation is applied to requirements, tasks, products, user cases, etc. But what does MoSCow prioritisation actually do?

Firstly let's look at what the MoSCoW acronym means for those that are new to the term. MosCoW is a way determining the importance of requirements for a project, hence the term MoSCoW Prioritisation.

MoSCoW stands for Must haves, Should haves, Could haves, Won't haves. The o's are added to make the acronym pronounceable and memorable.

Prioritisation of MoSCoW requirements

We feel that whilst all requirements are important, it is the prioritisation of requirements that can help you deliver the largest and most immediate business benefits early on in your project. Maybe those of you who are IT developers will initially try to deliver the Must Haves, Should haves or the Could Haves. The Should haves and Could haves will be removed if the delivery timescale looks in threat. A customer perspective of this prioritisation would be the way priority is assigned from high to medium, low and zero.

Must have requirements

Must have requirements are critical to project success and have to be included in the current delivery in order for it to be a success. Unfortunately, if a Must have requirement is not included, the project delivery may be considered a failure. Please note however that a MUST have requirement can be downgraded if agreed with all relevant stakeholders.

Should have requirements

Should have requirements are important to project success, but not necessary for delivery in the delivery time box. Should have requirements are often not as time-critical as Must haves. Should Have requirements may also allow for another way of satisfying the requirement, so can be held back until a future delivery time-box.

Could have requirements

Could have requirements are less critical and maybe often seen as nice to have. A few easily satisfied Could requirements in a delivery can increase customer satisfaction for little development cost.

Won't have requirements

Won't have but would like requirements are either the least-critical, lowest payback items, or perhaps not appropriate at that time. Won't have requirements are not always planned into the schedule for the delivery time-box. This  can sometimes be described as Would have and leaves the option open to add these requirements to the scope and delivery if the scope, budget or time changes.

Do you need help with MoSCoW Prioritisation?

CUPE runs a public schedule of Agile Project Management training courses, which fully cover the MoSCow prioritisation technique. If you would like to study this course and gain the Agile Foundation and/or Practitioner qualification but can not find the time off in your calender to attend a public course, we also offer a self-paced Agile distance learning course, fully accredited by APMG, at either Foundation level, Practitioner or combined.

If you would like to find out more about Agile training or our other project management-related qualifications, please feel free to contact us directly. We always aim to reply within one working day.

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