The MoSCoW method is a prioritization technique used in business analysis, project management, and software development to reach a common understanding with stakeholders on the importance they place on the delivery of each requirement.
The term MoSCoW itself is an acronym, derived from the first letter of each of four prioritization categories:
- Must have (M): These are the most critical requirements that must be included in the project for it to be considered successful. If even one ‘Must have’ requirement is not completed, the project delivery might be considered a failure.
- Should have (S): These are important requirements that are not as critical as the ‘Must have’ ones. While these should be included in the project to fully meet business needs, their absence will not result in a failure.
- Could have (C): These are the requirements that are nice to have, but are not necessary. While they add value, they are often considered lower priority. They will be included as long as they do not affect the delivery of the ‘Must have’ or ‘Should have’ requirements.
- Won’t have (W) (sometimes referred to as Would like to have): These are the lowest priority requirements that will not be implemented in the current cycle of work, but could be considered for the future. They are the first to be removed if the project needs to be scaled back.
Using the MoSCoW method, the project team collaborates with stakeholders to classify the requirements into these four categories. This ensures the project is well-defined, scoped properly, and can focus on delivering the highest value features first.