Simply put, it is a method used in a project to help stakeholders define value by conveying a simple approach to understand the significance of a number of initiatives linked to a project or release. The acronym is broken down into four categories.
These are non-negotiable product needs that are mandatory for the team. For example, the requirements such as customer ability to make secure payments.
These are important initiatives that are not vital, but add significant value. For example, it could be used temporarily until a permanent solution has been met.
These are nice to have initiatives that will have a small impact if left out.
Could Haves are also considered Currency used to trade off new requirements as they come to arise.
These are initiatives that are not a priority for this specific time frame and will not be delivered at this point in time.
When applying this technique, it requires a shift in mindset. Stakeholders are challenged to put their mind in the eyes of the customer, so they can think of requirements in terms of outcomes and results. As you can appreciate, customers want everything here and now. So, as a project leader MoSCOW is a useful method to manage the challenge.
When working out project requirements, you always have to consider time, cost and scope. AS you are aware the scope is the most flexible lever in agile. This is where you can use MoSCoW to categorize the requirements for the project scope.
Scope is your one lever that you can use to flex your muscle without compromising on quality and value.
Whenever you are working on requirements gathering, think about…
Splitting those requirements into both functional and nonfunctional requirements. For nonfunctional consider availability. security and maintain ability etc. For functional ask yourself, who can perform this, who can perform that? It is all about the criteria and planning.
Once this is done, you can use MoSCoW to prioritize your requirements for the project.
As a general rule, trying aiming for a 60/20/20.
It is a bonus for Could haves. But a focus on 20% exceeding quality is more important.
Agile delivers on time and on budget something, preferably with must haves and should haves with a sprinkle of exceptional quality.