Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I Don't Like MoSCoW

It's OK Sergey and Boris I'm not referring to the capital city of your homeland with it's rich history, wonderful literates and great hockey players.

Instead I'm referring to the technique that the DSDM consortium recommends for prioritizing backlog items.

  • Must Haves
  • Should Haves
  • Could Haves
  • Won’t Have (this time around).
There are a couple of problems with this technique and in my classes my students spot them right away.
  1. The customer always thinks everything is important and therefore the distribution of the backlog items is hopelessly skewed towards the Must Haves.
  2. If we are planning an iteration and we have only room left to take on one more backlog item and we have two Must Haves which one gets planned into the iteration. Of course we should ask the customer but what if they're not there.
Many customers think that promoting backlog items to Must Haves is exercising better control over delivery but it is not. A customer who cannot differentiate between the importance of backlog items is ceding control to the delivery team. Work has to be sequenced and if the customer will not choose then the team will.

A better technique is to rank backlog items such that no two items have the same priority. In this instance it is very clear the preferred order of delivery.

No comments: