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!