The MoSCoW Method and its use in Project Management

21.09.2020The MoSCoW Method and its use in Project Management

Prioritisation is key for successful project management. Determining the importance of work being done, and its progress, will aid in keeping to deadlines. The MoSCoW method is a prioritisation technique that is particularly useful in projects, but is also commonly used in management, business analysis and software development to reach a common understanding with stakeholders on the importance they place on the delivery of each requirement.

What is the MoSCoW Method?

The letters stand for:

  • Must Have
  • Should Have
  • Could Have
  • Won’t Have this time

Unlike the use of simple prioritisation methods, such as high/medium/low, or sequential 1,2,3,4… The use of Must Have, Should Have, Could Have and Won’t Have this time provides a clear indication of that item and the expectation for its completion.

Prioritisation Levels

When AEON initiate a project, the ‘Must Have’ items are identified as critical to the project’s success. These are non-negotiable elements to deliver a viable product. The ‘Should Have’ elements, although important, are not vital. Sometimes these are things that may require a workaround to remain within the delivery timescale or budget. ‘Could Have’ items are very desirable, but realistically only viable if there is the extra time and budget to provide for them. Lastly, we consider the ‘Won’t Have’ items, which are nice to have, but have no real impact on the product’s viability.

This method of prioritisation is extremely helpful throughout a project as well. For example, when producing a large fragile product for a client, a ‘Must Have’ element could be the case required for the transportation of the item. Which also ‘Must Have’ an interior foam insert that assures a snug and safe fit in the case. These elements are essential to delivering a viable product.

At the beginning of the project we may have decided that the case ‘Should Have’ our company logo and branding, but unfortunately the case and foam order came in higher than the original quotes acquired at the project start. In a situation like this, the logo and branding may have to change to a ‘Could Have’ item, if we are able to find budget savings in another area of the project.

MoSCoW method at AEON Engineering

At AEON, we feel this method of thinking assures a consistent understanding of the critical elements of a project and the ability to prioritise the essential items. It assists in our ability to deliver projects on-time and on-budget, whilst not compromising quality.

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