Moscow Matrix

MoSCoW Matrix Template

Use the MoSCow Method to efficiently place deliverables in a matrix to understand their importance to your team’s projects.

About the MoSCoW Matrix Template

When you’re working on a project with a lot of deliverables, it can be difficult to track priorities. And as deadlines approach, sometimes priorities can shift, further complicating your workflow. How can you keep track of evolving priorities and still focus on a complex project? 

Keep reading to learn more about the MoSCoW method.

What is the MoSCoW method

The MoSCoW method is a powerful technique for tracking priorities, which are categorized and placed in a matrix model. Project managers, product developers, and business analysts use the matrix to align their teams when working through a set of project deliverables. Teams collaborate with stakeholders  to analyze and rank the importance of deliverables with MoSCoW, making it easier to stay on track. 

MoSCoW is an acronym for Must Have, Should Have, Could Have, and Won’t Have. These four priority categories make up the four segments in the matrix. “Must Have” items are necessary for delivery; “Should Have” items are important but not necessary; “Could Have” items are nice to have (they are not priorities, but your team can work on them if time and resources permit); and “Won’t Have” items do not fit into the scope of the current project. To use MoSCoW, you create four category segments showing your current priorities and their status (Complete, In Progress, or Not Yet Started). 

When to use the MoSCoW method

The MoSCoW method is useful whenever you need to present business needs to an audience, assess priorities, and collaborate on impending deliverables with a group of stakeholders. By drawing and updating the matrix, you can get a snapshot of your priorities and their impact at each stage of a project. MoSCoW allows everyone on your team to easily grasp upcoming tasks and their impact on your timeline.

Create your own MoSCoW matrix

Making your own MoSCoW matrix is easy. Miro’s whiteboard tool is the perfect canvas to create and share it. Get started by selecting the MoSCoW Matrix Template, then take the following steps to make one of your own.

  1. Fill in your Must Haves. The MoSCoW matrix is divided into four categories. The first is Must Haves, the items that are necessary for completion of your project. If you’re unsure whether a task is a Must Have, ask yourself the following questions: If you do not complete this task, will your product or service work as intended? Can you still deliver the product without this item? Does this task allow you to fulfill all legal requirements for your project? Will your product or service be safe without it? Will your customer suffer consequences if you fail to complete this task?

  2. Fill in your Should Haves. Next, move on to the items that are not necessary to complete your project but are still important for success. Remember, the items in this category are not vital, but you should try and incorporate them into your timeline anyway. If you’re unsure, ask yourself: Although it might be painful not to complete this task, could you still ship the product without it? Can you use a workaround to avoid this task?

  3. Fill in your Could Haves. Many teams colloquially refer to these items as “nice-to-haves.” While they might make the service run more smoothly, or make your product look better, these tasks are not important. If you have the time or resources to complete them at the end, then you can do so. If not, you can plan to do them later. To fill out this part of the matrix, ask yourself the following questions: What are the benefits of these tasks? Do they outweigh the costs? How will these tasks impact our timeline? Can we still complete the project on time and within budget if we include these tasks?

  4. Fill out your Won’t Haves. These items are outside the scope of your current project. Maybe you don’t have the budget to complete them, or maybe they don’t fit into your timeline. If you’re not quite sure whether something is a Won’t Have, ask yourself: How does this item impact our budget? Does our team have the bandwidth to complete this task? Will this item have a tangible impact on our customer? No one likes to admit that they can’t complete something, but don’t think of Won’t Haves as failures; they’re projects for another day.

MoSCow Matrix FAQs

How do you use the MoSCow Template?

The MoSCoW abbreviation (except for the o's) is carved with first letters of the priority categories it works with. These are Must-haves, Should-haves, Could-haves and Won't-haves. And that's how you can define which task falls into which category.

What are the benefits of using the MoSCow Method?

The key benefits of the MoSCoW technique is that it is quick and easy to use. The technique is good in highlighting the priorities of projects that are in progress and for organising efficient time management.

MoSCoW Matrix Template

Get started with this template right now.

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