Oct 23, 2020, Consulting, Design

MoSCoW method in digital products design

Ewa Zielina UX Designer

Prioritization is one of the things we need to do for all the steps in the project creation. We can use a lot of different techniques to make these decisions easier and faster. Below, we say a little bit more about one of the most common methods we often use in workshops. 

What is MoSCoW and why should you know it? 

It’s one of the simplest and easiest ways to check what functions have the biggest priority in a project. It is helpful in defining the MVP of the project. You can use this method in analysis, business, project workshops, and more. MoSCoW creates a common understanding of the topic for all stakeholders. It’s good to ensure that all the team members know what is a priority for each requirement. 

Important! Remember that every prioritization method is actual only for a specific moment of the project. For example, on different stages of project development or a few months later this priority list can look a little bit different. Why? The answer is easy – priorities we use for the given situations can change in time. 

What does MoSCoW mean?

Below, we crack what is covered by letter M, S, C, and W. We also explain what it means.

Must have: Project cannot exist without it (without it our project will fail)

Should have: Must-have in the long run (necessary to have, but project can exist without it)

Could have: Low-cost tweaking (nice to have, but not necessary)

Won’t have: Get back to them at better days (we can use them for the future)

How to use it correctly?

What is important – every method often needs to be fitted for a specific situation, project, and stakeholders. For example, there is no one way for us to make a canva for this method.  Sometimes we put it into a square, sometimes we present it on timeline, and another time we put dots on story mapping to add for a quick prioritization. But for what it is worth, most important are the questions that will guide you through this method:

Must have

Without what product/things/service can’t work?

What is critical from the user’s point of view?

Which requirements realize the business benefit?

When will it make no sense?

… and more

Should and could

What is necessary to have, but a project can exist without it?
What is nice to have?
What gives extra value but is low-cost?


What can we plan in the next phase of the project?
What will we not do this time/sprint/MVP?

What gives extra value but is high-cost?

To summarize, MoSCoW is a nice technique that we like to use and totally recommend. We wrote this post to show you the value of work and functionalities prioritization. Hopefully, now you understand why it is so important. You should also definitely try it! Not sure how? Contact us to figure out how we can help in your product development.