MoSCoW Method

By Dai Clegg

The MoSCoW Method is an approach to prioritize user stories and tasks. It is especially helpful when negotiating product requirements and workstreams with stakeholders. The acronym stands for Must, Should, Could, and Won’t.

Requirements that are considered Must have should be prioritized first. These are critical, non-negotiable pieces of functionality.

Should have requirements are important but can be delivered after the Musts have been completed. These are tasks that would like to be completed before a deadline or launch but not a deal-breaker if they are not ready.

Could have requirements are desirable but not considered necessary. Often these are items that are eventually scrapped in favor of higher, priority work.

Any work that falls into the Won’t category is agreed to not be worked on at this time. This may be features that don’t align with goals or strategy or is generally considered lower impact.

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