MoSCoW> Prioritize and decide together
For each element that needs to be prioritised, the host will ask the group to agree on deadlines for and the urgency and importance of an element, in relation to previously presented elements.
Prepare a Board activity with the following categories:
- Must have: what has to be done (essential, vital task). Client requirements won’t be met if this request isn’t completed on time (vital).
- Should have: this is an important task, but there is an acceptable workaround if the task isn’t finished within the time limit (important).
- Could have: this task would be ideal, and it is possible to complete it in time, but in the case of an underestimate, it could be set aside (comfort).
- Won’t have: the requesters would like to have it, but they won’t get it, because it won’t be delivered on time (bonus).
- Prepare one card per task to be estimated in a ‘to prioritise’ category.
- Enable colours on the board (one colour for the consensus).
Activity settings Board
- Activity format: Live
- Categories: ‘To prioritise’ + 4 prioritisation categories
- Colours: enabled
Present each task, need, requirement, etc. to be prioritised to the group. Make sure they are well understood by all participants.
In this prioritisation activity, the group doesn’t interact with the Board, but instead has a discussion to reach an agreement. You’ll be the only one manipulating the board.
For each card, ask the group which priority category the request falls into. Place the card in the category requested and identify it as decided (by consensus) using a colour.
Once prioritising is done, you’ll have a comprehensive Board of all prioritised requests. Thus, the group can identify and share common priorities.
Suggestions and variations
The first three are recognised prioritisation technique categories (P0, P1, etc. or High, Medium, Low, etc.). What makes Moscow interesting is the last category. The one where you’ll ask your group to ask themselves what they don't want. Putting their heads together to figure out the answer to this question gives them another viewpoint to help them define priorities to focus on.
If you want the activity to be more interactive, so you’re not fully in charge of the Board, you can force categorisation:
Prepare the Board’s categories: one category per element to be prioritised
In the instructions: the definition of the Moscow terms (the selection criteria for participants)
Enable colours to identify the consensus.
Ask each participant to send their prioritisation (just a card with M, S, C or W) for each element
After this exploration phase, you’ll pinpoint the average value category by category. You can put it at the top of the column and mark it with a colour.
This results in a prioritised list.