To maximize the chance of success, your projects need to be properly prioritized: both the requirements and the main project objectives. A very useful technique is to use a meaningful wordset such as the MoSCoW.
The meaning of the MoSCoW wordset is valuable in getting stakeholders to understand what they are doing during prioritization in a way that other ways of attaching priority (like high, medium and low) do not.
Many requirements of your project are important, but they need prioritized to deliver the greatest and most immediate business benefits early. Project managers and developers will initially try to deliver all the M, S and C requirements, but the S and C requirements will be the first to go if the delivery timescale looks threatened.
- M – MUST have this.
requirements labeled as MUST have to be included in the current delivery timebox in order for it to be a success. If even one MUST requirement is not included, the project delivery should be considered a failure (note: requirements can be downgraded from MUST, by agreement with all relevant stakeholders; for example, when new requirements are deemed more important).
- S – SHOULD have this, if at all possible.
SHOULD requirements are also critical to the success of the project, but are not necessary for delivery in the current delivery timebox. SHOULD requirements are as important as MUST, although SHOULD requirements are often not as time-critical or have workarounds, allowing another way of satisfying the requirement, so can be held back until a future delivery timebox.
- C – COULD have this, if it does not affect anything else.
requirements labelled as COULD are less critical and often seen as nice to have. A few easily satisfied COULD requirements in a delivery can increase customer satisfaction for little development cost.
- W – WON’T have this time, but WOULD like in the future.
WON’T requirements are either the least-critical, lowest-payback items, or not appropriate at that time. As a result, WON’T requirements are not planned into the schedule for the delivery timebox. WON’T requirements are either dropped or reconsidered for inclusion in later timeboxes. This, however doesn’t make them any less important.
Have you used the MoSCoW prioritization medthod at your business and how effective was it?