MoSCoW Prioritization Technique

MoSCoW Prioritization Technique

Prioritizing requirements is very significant to determine the most important requirements from the gathered requirements and accomplish them as the projects are faced within a limited budget and time frame.

MoSCoW Prioritization Technique

Depending on the goal of prioritization, the criterion for prioritizing the requirements are chosen. The following are typical examples of prioritization criteria:

  • Cost of implementation
  • Business or Technical risk
  • Business value
  • Urgency
  • How long it takes to be implemented

The goal is to make the stakeholder group to develop realistic expectations about what they can get in the new system and when that might be feasible.

MoSCoW Approach:  It is a technique used by Business Analysts and stakeholders to prioritize requirements and decide what will be done over the lifetime of a project.

 MoSCoW stands for: Must have, Should have, Could have, Won’t have this time

Note: The o’s in MoSCoW are added to make the acronym pronounceable and are written in lowercase to show that they are not significant.

What does each mean?

Must have:  These requirements are guaranteed to be delivered without which the project will be a complete failure.

Should have: These requirements are important and of high value to the user when included in the project. Therefore, this should be included in the solution if possible for the success of project.

Could have: These are nice to have requirements and can easily be left out without damaging the project. They can increase customer satisfaction if the requirements are included in the solution.

Won’t have: These are would like to have requirements but won’t be delivered at this time in the project. The requirements will be considered sometime in the future.

Lets look at an example: You are planning to buy a white color car 4 –door with diesel which can hold maximum of 5 passenger to travel with family. You also like to have automatic functions in the car like auto-lock system, power windows, automatic seat belt, sun roof system, rear view camera, GPS and so on.

Must have: car for 5 passengers, 4 door car,

Should have: Diesel car, white color

Could have: auto-lock system, windshield

Won’t have: Extra features like sun roof system, rear view camera, GPS, power windows and so on.

MoSCoW approach enables to keep focused on the needs of the stakeholders in the project and deliver them at the target time.


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