Clarify priorities with MoSCoW (Must, Should, Could and Won’t)

Prioritization Technique – MoSCoW (Must, Should, Could and Won’t)

The MoSCoW technique is a good focus method that helps you choose when you have too many options.

MoSCoW is an easy-to-memorize acronym that provides a straightforward way of prioritizing items.  Dai Clegg of Oracle UK Consulting first described MoSCoW in CASE Method Fast-Track: A RAD Approach. Clegg then donated the Intellectual Property Rights to the Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM) Consortium.

How Now, MoSCoW?

By following MoSCoW, we can classify each option in a list of possibilities with rating criteria:

M – MUST have this
S – SHOULD have this if at all possible
C – COULD have this if it does not affect anything else
W – WON’T have this time but WOULD like in the future

The o’s in MoSCoW are added just to make the word pronounceable, and are often written in lower case.

MoSCoW empowers you and your customer to participate actively in the decision process regarding the best order of doing things (and which ones are really important).

So, now…how will you MoSCoW?

Globalize your On Demand Business

Check out these excellent writing tips from IBM on how to “Globalize your On Demand Business” 

Style tips

The following style suggestions can help ensure your information is clear for all types of audiences:

  • Write sentences as short and simple as possible. Try to keep sentences to 25 words or less.
  • Make sure that lists are complete and can stand by themselves.
  • Use a complete sentence to introduce a list.
  • Make list items complete sentences or complete phrases.
  • Make list items parallel in structure.
  • Avoid slang, jargon, humor, sarcasm, colloquialisms, and metaphors. For example, use “estimate” instead of “in the ballpark.”
  • Be succinct. Eliminate unnecessary text and redundancies.
  • Do not use Latin abbreviations.
  • Avoid negative constructions. For example, use “It is like the previous request” rather than “It is not unlike the previous request.” Or, use “Log on again to reconnect” instead of “You cannot reconnect without logging on again.”
  • Avoid ambiguity.
  • Use an appropriate and consistent tone.
  • Choose examples that are appropriate for the intended audience.

Grammar tips

Appropriate grammar enables easier, more accurate translations and enhances audience understanding:

  • Write in active voice whenever possible and use the present tense.
  • Avoid the infinitive (to create), present participle (creating), and past participle (created) forms of verbs in the beginning of sentences. These verbs are less direct, and the subject of the clause is not always obvious. Completing steps could mean “When you complete the steps” or “Because you complete the steps.”
  • Avoid noun strings. Limit compound phrases to no more than three words. When a compound phrase is used, be sure that it has only one meaning and that the phrase is used consistently.
  • Make the subject of a verb phrase clear. Avoid complex sentences where several adverbs or other modifiers are used. If you use complex sentences, it is particularly important to include whatever words are necessary to make the subject clear. Do not omit the word “that” from clauses. The use of the conjunction “that,” while technically optional in some sentences, is never wrong and makes the sentence easier to translate and clearer for users whose primary language is not English. For example, use “Verify that your directory service is working” rather than “Verify your directory service is working.”
  • Avoid using words in multiple grammatical categories (verb, noun, adjective). In English, many words can change their grammatical category. In most other languages, the same word cannot be a verb, a noun, and an adjective. (Use “during the restore operation” instead of “during the restore.”)
  • Avoid ambiguous pronoun references where the pronoun can possibly refer to more than one antecedent. For example, in the statement “If there is prompt text for the completed field, it does not change,” it is not clear if the “prompt text” does not change or the “completed field” does not change.
  • Use simple and clear coordination so the reader can tell what the relationships are between the elements of a sentence. For example, “the file or result field definition” could mean: “The result-field definition or the file,” “The file definition or the result-field definition,” “The file-field definition or the result-field definition,” “The definition of the file or of the result field,” or “The field definition of the file or of the result.”
  • Ensure the elements of a sentence are parallel. Words, phrases, and clauses should be grammatically equal. Use “network management, databases, and application programs” rather than “network management, databases, and writing application programs.”
  • Avoid using too many prepositions in a sentence, but do not omit prepositions or articles that are necessary. The sentence “This is a list of the current status of all event monitors for this process” could be rewritten to “This lists the current status of all event monitors for this process.”
  • Do not use the dash parenthetically (as in “It is at this point – the start point – that designers and writers meet”). Translators, however, accept the dash being used to show an extension of a sentence (as in “The most important people in IBM are the customers – they pay us”).

Free Microsoft eLearning Development Tool

Free Microsoft eLearning Development Tool

Microsoft has rolled out a FREE tool called LCDS. LCDS is an eLearning development tool that Microsoft is using to develop their multimedia driven eLearning. It can output to Flash, SilverLight, SCORM, HTML and more…


About LCDS from Microsoft:
The Learning Content Development System, or LCDS, is a forms-based tool that anyone can use to create e-learning content. By using the LCDS, you can:
• Author rich, interactive content by completing the easy-to-use LCDS forms
• Preview your course at any stage of development
• Set up a course structure that you can easily rearrange at any time

Spotlight on…

Sharon Bowman

Looking for tips and articles to help you energize your training sessions? Check out Sharon Bowman’s sparkly site:  Sharon’s site is chock full of web site links, newsletters, catalogs, and books that will help you become a master at “teaching it quick and making it stick!”  Here are two of her latest examples:

Stand, Stretch and Speak: Using Topic-Related Energizers.
From: Preventing Death by Lecture!
Author: Sharon L. Bowman
Format: Adobe Acrobat PDF

The Gallery Walk: An Opening, Closing, and Review Activity.
From: How To Give It So They Get It.
A more detailed version is found in: The Ten-Minute Trainer.
Author: Sharon L. Bowman
Format: Adobe Acrobat PDF