Quality Progress - December 2017 - 80
A new twist on an established
Use the MoSCoW technique
to quickly and easily
by Kishore Erukulapati
Effective and efficient prioritization is important to
ensure time and resources are well spent on tasks
that provide maximum value.1, 2 It helps us understand what is important to stakeholders and which
initiatives require focus. One technique that can help
with prioritization is the MoSCoW technique.3
TA B L E 1
MoSCoW is simple, quick, easy-to-use and straightforward, and has origins in the dynamic systems
development method.4 MoSCoW stands for "must
have, should have, could have and would like." To
make the acronym easy to remember, the letter "o"
is added after the "M" and "C."5 6
To more easily prioritize the tasks of an initiative,
separate them into the following categories:
+ Must have. These are the critical and non-negotiable tasks
that must be fulfilled for an initiative to be successful. Failure
to complete one or more tasks from this list will cause the
initiative to fail. Other variations include minimum usable set,
mandatory and most important.
+ Should have. These are important, high priority and negotiable tasks, but are not critical or essential to the initiative's
success. Complete as many of these tasks as possible unless
they negatively affect tasks from the must-have list.
+ Could have. These tasks are desirable or nice to have, but
aren't necessary for the initiative to be successful. Complete
these tasks unless they negatively affect tasks from the musthave or should-have lists.
+ Would like. These tasks are not currently a priority. They can
be completed at a future date after successful completion of
the initiative. Other variations include
won't have and want to have.
Use in higher education
Doctoral students undertake the highest
formal education and invest significant
time and resources in their education.
They set their own expectations to fulfill
December 2017 ❘ qualityprogress.com
+ Must author and present at least one scholarly paper at a national
or international peer-reviewed conference.
+ Must publish at least one scholarly article based on dissertation
with advisors in a scholarly refereed journal.
+ Should serve as a reviewer for at least one peer-reviewed journal.
+ Should serve as a reviewer for at least one national or international
+ Could teach at least one graduate-level course.
+ Could serve as a board member of at least one professional
+ Would like to write and secure at least one grant proposal.
+ Would like to serve as an editorial board member of at least one
ambitions, aspirations and passions, and short and long-term
academic and professional goals.7
Doctoral programs from reputed universities have rigorous and
comprehensive expectations that students must fulfill in a fixed
timeframe to receive the highest formal education.8, 9
It is essential for students to understand and manage those
expectations early so they can take full advantage of opportunities available to them and successfully complete the doctoral
program and become competent, collaborative and independent
research scholars, innovators, entrepreneurs, educators, leaders
and life-long learners.10, 11
MoSCoW is an excellent technique that helps students capture
stakeholder expectations, as illustrated in Table 1, and develop an
appropriate portfolio that covers research, education and leadership aspects to meet these expectations.
The references listed in this column can be found on the Try This Today
webpage at qualityprogress.com.
Kishore Erukulapati is a doctoral student in technology
management, quality systems at Indiana State University in Terre
Haute. A senior ASQ member, Erukulapati is an ASQ-certified
quality manager of organizational excellence. He currently
serves as the membership chair of ASQ's Hawaii Section. He also
is a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics
Engineers (IEEE), chair of IEEE's Hawaii Computer Society
chapter and vice-chair of IEEE's Hawaii Section.