All Projects Should Pass Through Moscow

Recently, I’ve been given the opportunity to manage a project of rebuilding mp3books.com. This is really exciting for me, as I get to use some of my project management skills that I picked up in my ISYS 562 class with Ernie Nielsen. I’ve been able to put to practice some of the principles that he taught and are industry standard, and I realized that All Projects Should Pass Through Moscow.

Let me explain. MoSCoW is a process of prioritizing project scope into “must have,” “should have,” “could have,” and “won’t have” categories. Key stakeholders in the project should be involved in making these prioritization decisions. The project sponsor and the people who will most be affected by the success of the project should be included among the stakeholders.

For example, this last week, I sat down with Mark Taggart, who is the database content manager for Infobase Media, and we walked through his entire current system and talked about the critical functionality that it contains. I wrote down on post-it notes each of the pieces of functionality that was desired to be included in the new system.

After we had a mess of post-its, I let Mark decide which of those functions were “must haves” for the new site. We were able to narrow down the “must have” functionality to about 1/3 of all of the features we had discussed.

This list of “must have” functionality has made my job a whole lot easier as we can now set our goals and work towards delivering the most important features first.

MoSCoW also helps a ton with guarding against scope creep. As we’ve discussed new features that could be added in to the system, we have been able to say, “that is a high could have function,” or “let’s put that in the should haves.”

Try it out next time you are managing a project. It will make you happy and your customer(s) happy.

1 thought on “All Projects Should Pass Through Moscow”

  1. Nice post, Jimmy. I always get clients to seperate the wants from the needs. There is a huge difference between the two, although it can be unclear sometimes unless you fully understand the process you’re trying to automate, and the areas of pain the client is feeling.

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