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MoSCoW... No Longer Just a City in Idaho

December 17, 2018

When considering what is important to a customer, one must always consider how the phrasing behind the level of importance looks. If you try to simplify your prioritization scale with your Product Backlog by asking a customer whether something is High, Medium or Low priority to them, what do you believe will be their choice every time. Even if you try to use numbers, somehow you end up with multiple top priorities. This is why you need to let The High, Medium and Low categories be determined by you as a business in the way of revenue or cost savings. It has to make financial sense to do something, otherwise, why would you be working on it.

From the customer perspective then, there is a different way of looking at things to determine how important certain features or requests really are…the MoSCoW model.

  • Must Have – Dealbreaker types of features; If they aren’t there, the client will probably go elsewhere. Online bankling site allows you to access your accounts and balances online and isn’t just a list of where your bank happens to be located.

  • Should Have – Logical extension of the core, dealbreaker types of features. Logging into my accounts online I should be able to see charges, transfer money between accounts and update my settings.

  • Could Have – These are features that could vary based on the clientele but really doesn’t have to be distinctly one or the other. Some clients may want to see updated market rates for loans or stock market prices. This could be where widgets are configurable so clients can choose what they want otherwise the default shows something benign.

  • Would Like – These are the whiz bang type of requests. The things that really make people use your product and talk about it. Think about mobile check deposits before it became the staple of most banking institutions. It was a would like feature. These are things that typically delight your clients that you try to throw into every release.

How then when looking at this level of priority do we possibly filter out what comes first and then what comes next? It’s simple with a small change. Here it is..

  1. Must Haves– High Priority

  2. Would Like – H-M-L

  3. Must Have – Medium, Low

  4. Should Have – H-M-L

  5. Could Have – H-M-L

In moving up the would likes sooner in the delivery cycle, it makes sure that we are being responsive to what customers would truly like to see. When we delight our customers, they know our product is filling a need for them and are more likely to come back again. So, remember MoSCoW… it’s no longer just a city in Idaho!

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