Working on a project with a variable scope means that some of the features or requirements are not guaranteed to be delivered within the project. It is the role of the project manager to agree with the client which items in the scope are variable. To do this can be achieved through a prioritisation method called MoSCoW technique.

MoSCoW is a very easy way to organise features into a prioritised order and helps teams to align with customer’s on what is essential for launch and what is not.

MoSCoW stands for:

Must have
Should have
Could have
Won’t have (for this release)

‘Must Haves‘ are features that must be included since the project will fail without this

‘Should Haves‘ are features that are not critical to launch, but are considered to be important and of a high value to the user.

‘Could Haves‘ are non essential features that are nice to have and could potentially be included without incurring too much effort or cost.

‘Won’t Haves‘ are features that have been requested but are not included to be in scope for the current project.

If a project only has ‘Must Haves’, the scope cannot be variable. It is a good idea to have around 60% ‘Must Haves’, 20% ‘Should Haves’, 20% ‘Could Haves’ to help give the project flexibility and contingency if things take longer than planned.