BA Corner: The MoSCoW method for IT Project Management

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BA Corner: The MoSCoW method for IT Project Management


One of the biggest challenges for businesses when working with IT providers, consultants and marketing people is accurately communicating what your needs are, and whether or not the solution will meet your business requirements.

One of the simplest ways of communicating this this using the MoSCoW method. By putting down all your requirements under these four headings before you get a quote for services, you can make sure that you don't get 80% down the path and have to start again because the platform chosen can't meet your business requirements.




  •  Must Have
  •  Should Have
  •  Could Have
  •  Won’t Have this time

Assessing Requirements

The BABOK Guide provides 8 criteria to be used for assigning priorities to requirements;

  • Business Value: Which requirement provides the most business value? The more business value a requirement will deliver, the greater the priority stakeholders may choose to assign to it.
  • Business or Technical Risk: Some requirements pose a significant risk of project failure if not implemented successfully. The analyst may assign a high priority to this category of requirements so that if the project does fail, the least amount of effort would have been spent. 
  • Implementation Difficulty: Which requirements are the easiest to implement? Straightforward requirements may lead to quick-wins and provide an opportunity for the project team to familiarize themselves with other elements of the project before taking on more complex requirements for implementation. 
  • Likelihood of Success: Which requirements can provide quick-wins and increase the probability of project acceptance? If the objective of the project is to demonstrate value as quickly as possible and quell negative chatter, requirements that have a higher probability of success would be given high priority.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Which requirements are necessary for policy and regulation adherence? These requirements are non-negotiable and usually have to be implemented within a set period of time, causing them to take precedence over stakeholder requirements in some cases.
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  • Relationship to other requirements: Which requirements support other high-value business requirements? Such requirements may be assigned a high priority because of their link to important requirements.
  • Urgency: Which requirements have a high degree of urgency? Most stakeholders tend to place a high priority on requirements needed like yesterday.
  • Stakeholder Agreement: Requirements on which stakeholders disagree should be postponed or assigned a low priority until consensus can be reached on their usefulness.


How Business Analysts can Identify Quick Wins

A quick win is an improvement that is visible, has immediate benefit, and can be delivered quickly after the project begins. The quick win does not have to be profound or have a long-term impact on your organization, but needs to be something that many stakeholders agree is a good thing. Quick wins can be easily discovered during analysis of business processes or during requirements elicitation. You can often identify quick wins by simply asking stakeholders if they have any quick win recommendations that could result in immediate benefits to the organization.

The best quick wins are easy to implement, inexpensive, and of course can be rapidly implemented. Below are criteria for evaluating quick wins.

  • Requires minimal or no capital expenditure
  • Low risk
  • Known root cause and obvious solution
  • Narrow and focused scope
  • Stakeholders will buy-in
  • High confidence of a positive impact
  • Improvements may be implemented within 60 – 90 days
  • Project team authority to implement the changes


Learn moreBA Corner: How Business Analysts can Identify Quick Wins

Criteria: Regulatory Compliance


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