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The MoSCoW Method | Prioritization Techniques

MoSCoW technique, also known as the MoSCoW method or MoSCoW analysis, is a prioritization technique mostly used in software development, project management and business analysis.

It helps teams reach a common goal with all stakeholders being on the same page, as well as giving them an overview of project-must-haves. Let’s have a look at what it all means for tech teams 😀

  1. What does MoSCoW stand for?
  2. What does MoSCoW mean for agile teams?
  3. How can I benefit from MoSCoW?
  4. What are other prioritization/scoring techniques?

What does MoSCoW stand for?

As you might have guessed, this weirdly spelt word has a meaning behind it – and it has nothing to do with Russia. Let’s have a look:

Must have, Should have, Could have, Won’t have

You can see a pattern emerging now. Every capital letter put together makes MSCW, but that’s hard to pronounce so we’ll call it MoSCoW from now on.

What does MoSCoW mean for agile teams?

This prioritization technique is often used to differentiate from ‘Must-Haves’ and ‘Out-of-Scope’ features. It’s important to note that MoSCoW is not a Scrum, Kanban or Agile technique, but it is wildly popular within those frameworks and methodologies.

How can I benefit from MoSCoW?

  1. It will give your team a chance to explore different perspectives on what is important to each team member.
  2. It will promote decision making within the team and encourage individual ownership of tasks/projects, increasing the chances of it’s success.
  3. It will give your team the power to say ‘No’ to out of scope features and requests many of us get when starting a project. #WeBelieveInYou
  4. It will help your team identify project requirements at the very start and therefore, save you time in the long run.
  5. Finally, it will help you remind yourself what was the main goal of the project when you start losing your sanity in all that code you wrote.

What are other prioritization/scoring techniques?

  1. The 100-Dollar Test
    Participants have a set amount of money to ‘spend’ on doing the tasks. The tasks which participants have ‘spent’ the most money on, go on top of their to-do list. The ones with least amount of money ‘spent’ go to the bottom.
  2. The Kano Model
    Mostly used for product development and customer satisfaction. It classifies customer preferences into different categories and answers a question, how to go beyond satisfaction and into the full delight.
  3. RICE Scoring
    RICE is also an acronym which is popular with product managers. It stands for Reach, Impact, Confidence, Effort. To get a RICE Score you’d need to combine your Reach, Impact and Confidence and compare it to Effort.
  4. ICE Scoring
    Similar to the above, ICE, stands for Impact, Confidence and Effort. The values are scored on a sale from 1 to 10.

As you can see there’s many to pick from. Important part is to acknowledge each method’s pros and cons and evaluate what fits your needs best. Personally, I’ll use MoSCoW method whenever I’m building or planning new websites.

Now when you’ve read about a couple of them, which one seems the best to you? Let me know down in the comments or hop over to my IG and say hello 💛

If you’re looking to join a new team my article on job hunting and first interviews for junior developers might help out. You can find it here.

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