The MoSCoW Prioritization Technique

After you have a good understanding of your customer needs by performing User Research, it is necessary to know what are the priorities and the most important needs that need to be fulfilled by your product (or application). One technique to use for deciding what are the main things to build first is by using MoSCoW.

MoSCoW is a method of prioritization that allows product teams to focus on the essential by providing the highest features first. The MVP or Minimum Viable Product could come from this exercise because you will know where to focus your effort to satisfy the needs of your users. In addition, it is useful for you to have an idea on how to organize your Product RoadMap and the order of the items to be delivered.

The MoSCoW is an acronym for the capital letters even though, you might find that some professionals use MOSCOW all in capital letters even though the o’s don’t have any significance.

Time to market is essential and projects usually have budget constraints which means that they cannot be developed for a long period of time without producing value to the customers or the company. Therefore, it is necessary to pick what must be created first.

The MoSCoW technique consists of the following categories for requirements:

Must have:
all the features or requirements that the customers want and need. They are the main features of your MVP.
Should have:
These are important features but needed immediately to satisfy the customer’s needs.
Could have:
The items that can be added later to the product. They are good features but are not the highest priorities like Must Have and Should Have ones.
Won’t have:
For this category, you could use the won’t have right now, or won’t have at all. It depends on you and what to put in this section. For instance, you can decide what items won’t be added or needed at the moment but if the product grows, you might consider. Or, you could list the features that the customers don’t want and make sure that they are never added to the product.

The format depends on your preferences. It could be a Word document or PowerPoint file containing the categories for the MoSCoW prioritization document and the features on each category. You can use this MoSCoW template or create your own. I hope you find it useful.

Teylor Feliz
Teylor Feliz

Teylor is a seasoned generalist that enjoys learning new things. He has over 20 years of experience wearing different hats that include software engineer, UX designer, full-stack developer, web designer, data analyst, database administrator, and others. He is the founder of Haketi, a small firm that provides services in design, development, and consulting.

Over the last ten years, he has taught hundreds of students at an undergraduate and graduate levels. He loves teaching and mentoring new designers and developers to navigate the rapid changing field of UX design and engineering.

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