Agile Project Management – MoSCoW

What is MoSCoW and why is it important? 
Following up on the heels of the previous blog post about Task Prioritization, this post explains a very simple and effective task management/prioritization tool called MoSCoW. It stands for:

  • M: Must Have
  • S: Should Have
  • C: Could Have
  • W: Won’t Have

This enables task prioritization in order of importance for the person handling it, and how relevant it is to the overall project completion goal. It may also be based on the availability of resources and time. So, MoSCoW is a flexible tool to make decision making precise and easy during the course of the project.

I’d like to share a personal example of MoSCoW implementation. In my previous company, I was once discussing with the lead project manager about his experiences and understand how he handled task management. In one example he said, a project had several tasks that needed to be “looked at” and the director was insistent that all the tasks be completed, and on time. So he said to the director, I will re-order the tasks alphabetically and work on them one by one. To this director realized that it may mean that “really crucial” tasks may get delayed depending on the alphabetical list. At that point, the PM and the director sat down and figured out a MoSCOW list.

See below an example, of how I used MoSCOW during a WiFi deployment project.

WiFI MoscowThe table helped me break down tasks and reduce the team’s work load by assessing the importance of the activities correctly.



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