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MoSCoW method: Setting priorities for better project management

Published on
2021-08-12
Was live
2021-08-12
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Have you ever been in a project progress meeting and realized that a key task was overlooked while other less important ones were already completed? Do you recall the stress and the failures this type of project management caused? Let Klaxoon walk you through your task prioritizing process with a simple, agile and collaborative solution!

The MoSCoW method, invented by Dai Clegg, aims to prioritize your checklist throughout your project, ranking tasks by level of criticality. This ranking is based on 4 categories.

First, the “must do” tasks. Not completing them would jeopardize the project. Second, the “should do” tasks: useful but non vital. These are less urgent, and can be done later. Third, the “could do” tasks that are not essential but could be really useful at some point. Finally, the “will not do” tasks that are unfortunately impossible to carry out immediately for the project in hand.

This ranking chart gives you a simple and crystal-clear project management tool that will prevent delaying or missing out on one of your key project items!

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The importance of prioritizing and scheduling tasks

Throughout the project management process, every project includes tasks that can be adapted, modified, pushed back, and even canceled. There is one factor, however, that you have no control over: time. That’s why, for your project to succeed, tasks must be prioritized.

After working remotely for a year and a half, sitting in meetings remotely or on site in small numbers, many businesses and coworkers see a number of advantages in applying hybrid working methods. These new agile management and project management methods promote better teamwork and facilitate interaction in terms of flow and efficiency.

Klaxoon’s tools - especially the digital whiteboard -, provide an overall picture of the project with a visual, collaborative and flexible board that adapts to any type of project, whether short or long term, and regardless of team size.

The digital whiteboard offers endless, flexible possibilities and Klaxoon’s project management templates help project managers and team members see where they stand throughout the project and visualize the interactions and connections between tasks. The importance and purpose of each task stand out clearly, thus favoring efficient priority management, better timeline compliance and making sure that objectives are met.

Finally, using tools that perfectly outline your action plan, prioritizing and scheduling key tasks, helps reduce project team stress. Team members can focus on their tasks, working towards their own deadlines within the overall project. Everyone can see any changes to the project tasks and track the project’s progress up to its completion.

Illustration the Moscow method |Klaxoon


Agile task prioritizing methods for a project

Klaxoon’s templates cover several agile project task prioritizing methods.

Need to manage a project collectively, remotely or on site, with a large number of in-house and external stakeholders? Then try the Copil template.

Want to focus on setting specific and measurable objectives to make sure your team will successfully complete each project? Then the OKR method is what you need.

If your team is in contact with other teams to manage a project within a set time frame, rely on PI Planning to operate smoothly and guarantee good communication!

With the MoSCoW method you can easily categorize your tasks and rank them to prioritize essential actions. This will save time and facilitate teamwork.

Now that home-working solutions on smartphones, PCs, tablets, etc. have become mainstream, having a priority management tool that can be used at any time in meetings and remotely is a must for teamwork. As project managers are fully aware, identifying urgent or key assignments can guarantee the successful outcome of a project. That’s why they rely on the MoSCoW method.

Illustration the Moscow method |Klaxoon


What is priority management according to the MoSCoW method?

Initially designed for project management and software management, this method aims to prioritize needs and requirements within a set time frame. This tool is very popular for agile project management approaches and is practical and easy to implement for you and your team.

The aim is to establish a task ranking chart according to the level of criticality for your project, using four categories:

·       M is for "Must have this”. These are unquestionably critical issues that must be addressed as a priority. Otherwise, the project could be jeopardized. These requirements are non negotiable.

·       S stands for “Should have this if at all possible”. These items bring real added value and/or are really important to meet the objectives. The difference with “Must have” items often lies in the fact that they can be postponed.

·       C stands for “Could have this if it does not affect anything else”. These items can improve customer satisfaction at relatively little cost. They are completed if they don’t affect the project priorities. They are dispensable tasks.

·       W stands for “Won't have this time but would like in the future”. These items are excluded from the project but are shelved for a potential future use.

Wonder what the “o”s in the MoSCoW acronym means? Well, they’re only there so the acronym makes sense and is easier to pronounce, and so your team will take it on board more easily!

Template the Moscow method |Klaxoon


How to use the digital whiteboard to introduce the MoSCoW method

As with other project management templates, the first thing you need to do is invite your project team members to join the Board. You can use the link generated on your digital whiteboard and email it to your team or invite them directly via the Klaxoon app.

Once invited, team members can add their photo, first name and last name in the dedicated fields.

And you’re off! Set a timer for 5 minutes to allow team members to suggest their ideas for tasks to be completed for the project. Remember that images, videos or links to documents can sometime be more meaningful than words.

Next, spend some time - verbally if you are on site or using the built-in videoconferencing tool - discussing your ideas, move them anywhere you like on the Board and remove any duplicates.

Together, assign a color to each idea according to the MoSCoW method’s four categories. All you need to do now is place them in the table’s four columns. For an agile and efficient visual management, allow the team some time to discuss and agree to the ranking of the ideas in the table.

Below the table you’ll see a space for the project action plan. Copy the “Must have” ideas, then the “Should have” ideas, depending on the total number of ideas. All you need to do next is to distribute the tasks amongst yourselves and define them accurately (details, due dates) in the boxes. You can use the Questions tool to call on a specific team member and set up a truly collaborative action plan that will keep everyone on board.

Example the Moscow method |Klaxoon


Benefits of Klaxoon’s board for efficient priority management

The digital whiteboard is available at all times and can be modified by all team members (unless you choose to lock some of the tasks). As the project progresses, you can move or remove tasks.

This way, the board is always up to date. The “to do”, “ongoing” and “done” categories give you visibility on the project’s progress at all times.

Also, you can change the table to “Column” view and sort tasks by category to view emergencies, ongoing or completed assignments.

Klaxoon’s useful tip: it can be dangerous to rank a majority of tasks as “Must haves” because everything then becomes a priority, with potential costing or expenditure problems. But a significant number of “Should haves” and “Could haves” gives your project greater flexibility. Now it’s over to you!

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