What is MoSCoW Analysis and MoSCoW Method?

MoSCoW Method Analysis or Prioritizing-min

Today we are now going on an adventure. We now have a compass in hand and the north star happens to be… MoSCow Analysis (also known as MoSCoW Prioritization or MoSCoW Method).

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What is MoSCoW Prioritization?

What or which Tasks/Projects should you manage?

MoSCoW Method is a framework to set goals more efficiently. Goal Setting is important, but setting the right goals is crucial in the business area to not lose resources over a task that is less urgent, unnecessary, or even irrelevant. The Method was designed by Software Developer Dai Clegg and his main objective was to solve the problem of wasting time, especially during the development stage of a product’s launch. (i.e., the features of a mobile app)

Below, you see the components of MoSCoW method. Let’s discover what they are together!

First off, MoSCoW Method is about Time Management. It’s about what are you or your organization is going to spend that time on? A day is always 24 hours, an hour is always 60 minutes, and a minute is always going to be 60 seconds. Therefore, having an effective Time Management in your organization or your daily life is Vital.

While performing MoSCoW Analysis, you basically put your objectives through a test.

How much do they, really, matter?

Do they matter enough?

According to the outcome of the final view, you see which tasks/projects/processes you or your organization should prioritize, and which ones are not urgent and may be left out for now or for good.

“We can’t solve problems by Using the Same Kind of Thinking we Used When We Created Them.”

Albert Einstein

MoSCoW Method

moscow prioritization-min

MoSCoW Prioritization: Must-Have:

The absolute MUST. There is no way out and there is no shortcut. This step/task/project/task/… has to be done as soon as possible. It’s the utmost priority. If this is a new mobile app, say about selling clothes online, the Must-Have may be having a swiping left/right feature as people habituated themselves to this behavior from the matchmaking applications.

A Task/Project/Feature/… is a must if,

  1. There is no simpler, better way
  2. If it does not function any other way

MoSCoW Prioritization: Should-Have:

Essential but not vital. Tasks/Projects/… do not need to be done as soon as possible, there is still a chance or there is still time. Without it, the operation will be still undisturbed. If this is again that clothing market app, then Should-Have could contain features or characteristics or an improvement in user experience for the upcoming update.

moscow prioritation method-min

MoSCoW Prioritization: Could-Have:

Not a problem if it’s left out but still is of significance. After conducting the analysis, you may understand that a task or a step turns out to be not a priority but a simple next step of the future developments. The outcomes of your soon-to-be launch will not be impacted.


MoSCoW Prioritization: Will-Not-Have:

This is Irrelevant. Lose it. Not only for now, but for good. It will do no good and only will result in waste of your resources, most importantly, your time. Meaning? Move on. If a Task is decided as WNH, then you should not lose more time on it other than throwing it to the nearest rubbish bin. Accept, for good, that this is all that task/project/… is going to be.

Can you only use MoSCoW Method when you have Time Constraints?

No. Some other ways you can conduct this analysis may be,

  • Budget Constraints
  • Employees’ or Team Members’ Existing skillsets
  • Needs of Market’s Competition
  • And more.

What might be the downfalls of conducting MoSCoW Analysis?

  • Inconsistent Scoring
  • Tasks Ending up in Inaccurate or Mistaken Categories
  • Not including Stakeholders while conducting the analysis
  • Bias of Team Members or Employees
  • Not categorizing objectively or relevant to Your or Your Organization’s Objectives

To have the most successful MoSCoW Analysis:

  • Decide on a ranking/scoring system or method with proven efficiency and success
  • Get input from all key Stakeholders
  • Share the analysis and its results organization-wide

Let’s Review what we discussed onMoSCoW Analysis!

We learned that we use this method when we need to save our resources. These resources may be time, budget, competitive needs, and more. We learned that we use this method when we are required to use our time or other resources as effectively as possible. How do we conduct or perform this analysis? We have 4 categories to rank our items. These are Must-Have, Could-Have, Should-Have, and Will-Not-Have. If our objective is in WNH, then we know that we shall not waste more of our resources on it and that it is irrelevant or outdated.

Do you think MoSCoW Prioritization is effective?

Let us know in the comments below!

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