MoSCoW Analysis


The purpose of a MoSCoW Analysis is to prioritize the requirements to be included as part of a release. MoSCoW refers to the four categories included in the analysis: Must-Have, Should-Have, Could-Have, and Won’t Have. MoSCoW was originally used for managing requirements for software, but the method has been adopted more broadly by marketing teams for initiatives with a fixed launch date. MoSCoW helps teams to prioritize elements based on the goals of the initiative and align on a feasible scope. The method can be used over time to manage ongoing releases as prioritization criteria may evolve and new requirements may be identified.


What do we need to accomplish by when to be successful?


  1. Bring together your stakeholders and ensure that everyone is clear on the requirements that are being considered, and aligned on how the requirements will be prioritized. Now start prioritizing using MoSCoW.
  2. Must-Have requirements need to be included in your release. These elements are critical to the success or function of the product or initiative. If you cannot move forward without it, the requirement is a Must-Have.
  3. Should-Have requirements are of high value for the project, but the project will not fail or the product will not be unusable if the requirement is included. Should-Have requirements are critical to include in a future release.
  4. Could-Have requirements provide less value for the project than Should-Have requirements, and are not fundamental to the product or initiative itself. These will only be included once Should-Haves have been delivered.
  5. Won’t-Have requirements have the lowest value for the project and will not be included in the launch or release. This category is also referred to as ‘will not have this time’, as they may be delivered in the future.


  • Ensure that requirements are captured in a clear and consistent way for stakeholders to have a shared understanding.
  • Ensure that your MoSCoW results are actually feasible given the resources and time that you have available.
  • Establish a clear and objective way to distinguish Should-Have and Could-Have, which can seem similar.


S.M.A.R.T. goal is credited to George T.Doran.


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