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MoSCoW prioritization method
MoSCoW prioritization method

Popular prioritization technique used in project management, business analysis and software development

Alexander Sergeev avatar
Written by Alexander Sergeev
Updated over a week ago

Product managers need special methods and techniques for determining priorities and getting great business results. There are dozens of popular methodologies from gaming to the most complicated, quantitative and qualitative, for internal and external purposes.

Here’s one of the popular methods - MoSCoW methodology

MoSCoW Prioritization Method

MoSCoW is the method of prioritization that is widely used in many areas to reach consensus among stakeholders. The name of the technique is an acronym, where each consonant letter defines a priority category:

  • M – Must. The requirements that are critical and must be applied to a product as a matter of priority. Even if one of them is not taken into account, the release is considered to be unfulfilled.

  • S – Should. Requirements important but not critical for the release. Such requirements are not very sensitive to time.

  • C – Could. Desirable but not mandatory requirements for your release. These are usually low-cost improvements for the product.

  • W – Would. These are considered the least critical or may not correspond to the product strategy at all. They can be ignored and be revised for future releases.


Here’s how we “decomposed” some Hygger tasks that were originally planned.
Must Have – to implement Priority Chart – a chart where you can select the most valuable ideas and move them to the development, to rank ideas according to the Value /Efforts metrics, to push Kanban and Sprint boards, add Burndown Chart for tracking a sprint’s progress.
Should Have – to implement a time tracking option to record time worked, Cycle /Lead Time Report to control processes, make integration with Slack to get updates on the boards.
Could have – to add My Tasks section, where users can view all tasks in different statuses, implement Client Access to invite clients to the project.
Would Have – to provide SAML SSO /G Suite SSO for a single sign-on authentication for employees to the app, add Calendar View for the board, add an integration with other project management systems (JIRA, PivotalTracker, Trello, etc.)

The method offers a quick and easy solution for prioritizing issues. However, such classifications by categories usually may not be enough.

Therefore, it is believed that MoSCoW is better suited for internal projects but not for products with a large number of customers. It is quite popular among Agile software development teams. 

You may learn more about Scrum and Kanban projects managing in our How to do Kanban with Hygger software? and Scrum tutorial

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