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MoSCoW Grooming

I was recently asked whether the MoSCoW List (list of known business requirements classified by the first letter of: Must, Should, Could or Won’t) is a static document. The short answer to this is No – the MoSCoW List is intended to be evolved, some use the term “groomed”, as the project progresses. MoSCoW grooming is a good process to indicate what is inside or outside scope for the project as a whole, as well as for a given phase and/or iteration.

The MoSCoW List is initially created in the Inception phase, but this does not mean that you do not continue prioritizing further into the project. In fact, you groom the MoSCoW list using prioritization techniques throughout the project. You indicate priorities for each use case defined. However, all the detailed requirements should be related to the requirements given in the MoSCoW List.

When the project moves into the Elaboration phase, you also use these priorities to determine on which use cases to start. The Should Haves are not as important as the Must Haves and may not even be considered during the Elaboration phase.

This classification makes our understanding explicit as soon as project progress changes. New functionality can appear and be prioritized as necessary while other initial requirements turn out to be less important.

The ultimate MoSCoW List should be a mutually exclusive and completely exhaustive set of functional and supplemental requirements. Each requirement should relate to at least one of the objectives stated in the Business and System Objectives (RD.001).  

Do you have any tips for MoSCoW grooming?  Please share them in the comments.

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