Software Teams

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

A Different Take On Gamification And Project Management

Back in 2010, I took a three month job with Wizards Of Coast and that turned into a three year journey. If you are not familiar with the company, they make the popular Dungeons And Dragons role playing game and the insanely popular Magic, The Gathering collector card game. I was hired to help update a database tool that transformed editorial content about mystical worlds into components to support a subscription based online resource for serious gamers. 

Pulled this from their website in the about page. It was taken back in 2013 and I'm in there, can you find me? 

Basically, Dungeons & Dragons is a weird hybrid of story telling and group game play. The storyteller, called a Dungeon Master, facilitates the game play by unfolding the story as players take turns. Based upon decisions made by players, the roll of dice and sometimes a flip of a card, both the story and the game can branch into different directions. 

So the group of characters which the players have created bring unique skills to the effort. Additionally, each has a set of tools they start off with and tools they pick up along the way. They set off on a quest and have to coordinate efforts, communicate effectively and use problem solving skills to survive. Many times, the quest is actually a series of individual efforts that can span days, weeks or even months. Many times the players are prepared for the unfortunate events that unfold and sometimes they are not. Sometimes you loose characters along the way and that is considered unfortunate and can seriously affect the overall effort. 

Are you getting it yet? No, not the premise behind D&D. The project management angle in regards to this narrative, are you getting it?

Quest = Project
Characters = Team Members
Decisions/Dice/Cards = Decisions/Outside Factors
Magical Characters = Team Member Skills That Look Like Magic
Magical Tools = Software Tools
Coordination/Communication/Problem Solving = Coordination/Communication/Problem Solving
Unfortunate Loss Of Team Members = Unfortunate Loss Of Team Members 

When I was first introduced to the game during my first week, I had an odd feeling that I had played this game before!