Prioritization is an important piece of any project puzzle. Sometimes prioritizing the known tasks in a project seems overwhelming.

 Wouldn't it be nice to have a quick way to get an initial sort?

 Sure enough, one of these magical tools does exist. It's called  MoSCoW rating.

 Here’s a quick start to using MoSCoW to prioritize your requirements:

1.  State your goal(s). This could be anything from buying a new house to building an iPhone app, but be clear about where you're headed.

2.  Create your requirements list

  • Put everything on the list, one item per line
  • Don't combine items, even if you wouldn't want one without the other
  • The requirements should be realistic.  Stretch goals are good, but this exercise isn't about vision or brainstorming.

3. Rank each item on the list using these criteria

  • M - MUST (this requirement is a top priority.  The project can't be completed without this requirement being satisfied)
  • S - SHOULD (this requirement is important, but you could do without it if you absolutely have to)
  • C - COULD (this requirement is nice to have but if it isn't satisfied it's not really going to be missed)
  • W - WON'T (on second thought, this doesn't really belong in the list)

4. Now it's as simple as running down your list in priority order.

  • You can order within each category - except Won't - if you like, so that you have dependencies accounted for.
  • You can pull from your Should and Could lists and mix them in with the Musts only if there is synergy between an M and a S/C - in other words, you'll gain efficiency by implementing them together.

Want more details?  Check out the full blog post on using MoScOW!