How exactly does the MoSCoW determine priorities?
Prioritizing requirements management using MoSCoW prioritization, also known as the MoSCoW method or MoSCoW analysis, is a popular approach.
The four kinds of initiatives that are represented by the acronym “Moscow Method” are: should have, could have, won’t have, or won’t have right now. Some businesses can also translate the letter “W” to mean “wish.”
What led to the creation of the MoSCoW Method?
Dai Clegg, a software developer, created the MoSCoW method while he was employed by Oracle. He designed the framework to help his team prioritize tasks during the development of a product release.
MoSCoW prioritization is explained in detail in the Dynamic System Development Method (DSDM) handbook. However, due to MoSCoW’s ability to prioritize tasks within any time-boxed project, teams have adapted it for a wide range of uses.
How does the MoSCoW assign tasks priority?
Before a MoSCoW analysis can be done, a few things need to happen. The product team and key stakeholders must first reach an agreement on the priorities and goals. The next thing that needs to be done is for all of the people involved to come to an agreement about which projects should get priority.
At this point, your team should also discuss how they will resolve any disagreements regarding priority. If you can resolve disagreements in advance, you can aid in preventing them from stalling progress.
Last but not least, you’ll need to agree on how much of each category’s resources should go there.
You can begin selecting the category that is most appropriate for each initiative once the foundation has been established. But first, let’s break down each MoSCoW category in more detail.
The MoSCoW’s Priority Categories are as follows: This group includes initiatives that your team “musts,” as the name suggests. They are necessities that cannot be altered for the current project, product, or release. When a healthcare application is released, security features that help maintain compliance, for example, may be a must-have initiative.
Ask yourself the following questions if you are unsure whether something falls into this category.
If the product or the release cannot function without it, the initiative is probably a “must-have.”It’s just as important to take steps that should have been taken as it is to have everything. They are important to the product, project, or release but not essential. Even if omitted, the project or product continues to function. However, the initiatives may have a significant impact.
Should-have initiatives, in contrast to “must-have” initiatives, are able to be scheduled for a subsequent release without affecting the current one. Performance enhancements, minor bug fixes, or new functionality are examples of “should-have” initiatives. Without them, the product still functions.
Another term for “could-have” initiatives is “nice-to-haves. “The primary function of the product necessitates the absence of initiatives that “could have” been taken. However, their absence has a much smaller impact on the outcome than that of initiatives that are “should-haves.”
Will not have (this time) The MoSCoW strategy has the advantage of categorizing a number of initiatives as “will not have.
The team is aware that initiatives in this category are not a priority right now.
Some initiatives in the “will-not-have” group will be prioritized in the future, while others are unlikely to occur. To differentiate between those, some teams decide to create a subcategory within this group.
How can development teams utilize MoSCoW?
Even though Dai Clegg developed the MoSCoW method to help his team prioritize tasks based on their limited time, it works when a development team has other constraints than time. For example:
Prioritize based on the funds available.
What if a development team is limited by a company-imposed tight budget rather than a deadline? The team can use MoSCoW to collaborate with product managers to decide which initiatives are essential and optional. The development department’s budget can then be used to determine which tasks the team can complete.
Prioritize based on the team’s capabilities.
A cross-functional product team’s developers’ knowledge and experience may also limit them. This constraint will be a factor in their MoSCoW analysis if the product roadmap calls for functionality that the team does not have the skills to build.
Set priorities based on competing requirements for the company.
Cross-functional teams may also be constrained by other company priorities. Despite the team’s desire to advance a new product release, the executive team has set strict deadlines for subsequent product releases within the same time frame. In this instance, the team can use MoSCoW to prioritize everything else and figure out which aspects of their desired release are crucial.
What are MoSCoW Prioritization’s drawbacks?
Numerous product and development teams have given MoSCoW top priority, but the strategy may have some drawbacks. Here are a few examples.
- An inconsistent scoring method could cause tasks to be placed in the wrong categories.
A common criticism of MoSCoW is that it lacks an objective method for comparing initiatives. Your team must apply this method to your analysis. The only way the MoSCoW strategy works is if your team uses the same scoring system for all projects.
Relevant stakeholders, they may be placed in the wrong categories.
To determine which of your team’s initiatives are product must-haves and which are just should-haves, you will need as much context as possible.
For instance, you might ask a member of your sales team to tell you whether or not a proposed new feature is important to potential customers.
You run the risk of making poor decisions about where to place each MoSCoW initiative if your team doesn’t get input from all relevant stakeholders.
Team bias in favor of (or against) initiatives may hinder MoSCoW’s effectiveness.
Because MoSCoW lacks an objective scoring method, your team members may give in to their own opinions regarding particular projects.
When using MoSCoW prioritization, a team may mistakenly believe that MoSCoW itself represents an objective method of measuring the items on their list. They discuss a project, agree that it should have been completed, and then move on to the next.
However, in order to rank all initiatives, your team will also require a framework that is both objective and consistent. The only way to lessen your team’s biases in favor of or against particular items is to do that.
The MoSCoW Prioritization Method Is Employed When?
MoSCoW prioritization is effective when teams want to involve representatives from the entire organization in their process. A broader perspective can be gained by involving participants from various functional departments.
Another reason you might want to use MoSCoW prioritization is that it gives your team the ability to decide how much work goes into each category. Consequently, you can ensure that every release contains a wide range of projects.
How can MoSCoW Prioritization be put to best use?
If you want to try MoSCoW prioritization, here are some things to keep in mind. If you incorporate these into your process, the MoSCoW method will benefit your team more.