MoSCoW Technique And The Requirements Walkthrough

If you have studied project management or business analysis, you have likely heard of the MoSCoW technique. It is a classification method used primarily for prioritization or scope management. The idea is to rate the item under scrutiny (like a requirement), the breakdown is as follows: 

M (must have)
S (should have)
C (could have)
W (won't have).

I’ve seen analysts send out requirement lists, ask users to provide ratings and then send the list back to the analyst. Although this can work to help define requirements, there is a significant missed opportunity in that approach.

A requirements walkthrough (sometimes called a structured walkthrough) is a formal meeting where key stakeholders evaluate each requirement one at a time and make a determination about the requirement. Although it has its roots in validation, it is more of a method to facilitate a strong shared understanding of each requirement. 

The MoSCoW technique and requirement walkthrough are a nice combination and can greatly enhance requirement packages regardless if you use a RTM, user stories, KPIs or even a specification list. When one stakeholder classifies a requirement at either extreme (M or W), another stakeholder in the meeting may challenge that classification. What happens next is the most valuable aspect, they talk about it openly where other stakeholders can hear it. Even if both stakeholders never agree, the shared perspectives are now out in the open and can be addressed as needed. 

The combination of MoSCoW and requirement walkthroughs offer more value that a traditional "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" evaluation of requirements. It greatly reduces the chance that someone will "rubber stamp" requirements due to disinterest, political pressure or misconceptions about the requirement itself.

© 2016 Dwayne Wright