Fine Tune User Stories with MoSCoW

scope management Nov 15, 2020
Fine Tune User Stories with MoSCoW

By nature, agile requirements are considered "lighter." With requirements often taking the form of user stories recorded in a product backlog, some requirements may become obsolete as the project progresses.

To avoid the waste of implementing unnecessary or lower priority requirements, prioritization by the business owner is critical.  One aid that helps the business owner think things through and appropriately informs the team of priorities is known as the MoSCoW method.  While its genesis is in the Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM), it can be an essential tool for agile project management.

MoSCoW is an acronym for:

  • Must have - these stories must be included
  • Should have - these stories are of secondary importance
  • Could have - the team can decide (desirable but of lower importance)
  • Won't have (or in some uses, Wish) - should be excluded (or included only if time permits as they are only a wish)

Letting the team know what is and is not required and what might or might not be desired helps them to make better decisions during iterations or sprints.  Combined with the Definition of Done, this guidance can often make the difference between getting the desired stories completed during a sprint and having work to carry over.  The team will always be focused on respecting the client's deliverables and providing the value they need.

Subscribe for Our Project Management Resources, Best Practices, and Tips

Confirm your subscription to receive an email with immediate download access to Project Manager's Resources, a valuable list of books and web sites.

Get the latest tips and updates sent directly to your inbox monthly.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.