Part Eight in the Series: Software Development Guide for Business Leaders
Methods for Breaking Your Project Into Parts
Determine Minimum Viable Product Features
As you build your functional requirements, you must choose the features and functions needed to create a Minimum Viable Product or MVP. A minimum viable product has just those core elements sufficient to deploy the product and no more. Using an MVP style of development encourages feedback from the stakeholders, costs less to develop and is a good strategy to use when developing customer facing apps.
Utilize the MoSCoW Method
When developing your MVP, break the requirements for the down into sub-categories. A handy method for this is the MoSCoW Method. With the MoSCoW method, you break each element down into the categories: Must have, should have, could have and won’t have.
I like the MVP and MoSCoW methods because they use standard language and terms that we can understand easily.
Critical to the success of creating a MoSCoW frame is a budget and a time-box or end date. If you had unlimited time and budget, it would allow you to have everything in your product.
Since there are seldom cases where the budget and timeline are unlimited we then employ the MoSCoW Method to determine:
- Must Have Items: requirements that are critical to the success of the current development time-box.
- Should Have Items: important but not necessary for the current time-box.
- Could Have Items: desirable but not necessary for the current time-box.
- Won’t Have Items: won't be included in this time-box as agreed upon by the stakeholders.
As an executive, your biggest problem will be the classification of each requirement and to avoid making each one a “Must Have Item”. Facilitate this process with your Project Manager.
Two Methods for Breaking Your Development Project into Parts Conclusion
Your PM may have some tools up their sleeve to facilitate a workshop or meeting but here is a tool that you can use to focus the session and attain a good result. The device is called the Prioritization Matrix. With it you can easily have a stakeholder meeting and get everyone to agree which requirements are going to have the biggest impact and then the “must have” items for your next sprint.
MoSCoW, MVP, and Agile go together well. Start each sprint with a MoSCoW session, build your MVP and you're ready to start. Evaluate each successive time-box and apply the MoSCoW method iteratively.
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