The Moscow Technique is a structured approach to product planning and estimation. Developed by Nick FitzGerald in 2005, the technique was primarily used in the development of Microsoft Windows Mobile but has since found wider use across many different organizations including Microsoft, Nokia, Google, Microsoft Bizspark companies etc.
It is 100% empirical and also 100% transparent. This technique can be used on any project where there are tasks with associated time estimates. It
is especially useful for applications where effort can be objectively compared to each other, e.g. for large scale refactoring of complex codebases or projects with well defined user stories.
The process consists of five steps:
Step 1 – Breaking the backlog into epics
Step 2 – Prioritizing the epics
Step 3 – Breaking each epic into features
Step 4 – Prioritizing the features within an epic
Step 5 – Fine Tuning the breakdown by adding additional detail until there are no conflicts (optional)
The elements in Step 5 would typically be completed when working with a development team rather than when working with product owners or prioritization experts. Steps 4 and 5 may be repeated as necessary.
The moscow method is a simple and effective way to manage backlog moscow prioritization. Moscow gives you a framework for examining product backlogs and how to deal with the inevitable conflicts that arise when trying to do requirements Moscow prioritization. The moscow method provides a process for arriving at an order of magnitude estimate (i.e., “first”, “second”, “third”) or relative size (“small” < “medium” < “large”) through informed consensus rather than merely voting, bargaining, or negotiating among team members. This allows stakeholders to arrive at better decisions about product development efforts in less time, by focusing on the right issues up front before attempting detailed estimation tasks.
Breaking it down into epics is one of five steps in the moscow method. In the moscow method you start by finding all your stories, and then arrange them into epics or themes. A good rule of thumb is to have no more than 10-15 stories per epic.
The moscow method is a way of breaking down larger pieces of work (e.g., project goals) into smaller chunks, so that people can understand what they are trying to achieve at any given time, and break down unknowns along the way for future planning purposes . It also provides an opportunity for communication across team members.
It’s always better not only to estimate your value stream but also apply it in practice by using “backlog grooming” sessions – shorter meetings with key stakeholders to provide insight into the value stream of work items.
The moscow technique prioritises backlogs by first identifying all known unknowns, then grouping them together for later planning. Instead of planning, the moscow method is about understanding enough to know what you don’t know and putting it off until you understand it better.
The moscow method can be used to help with estimation during backlog grooming sessions . It helps teams focus their efforts on the most valuable stories. It takes some time to learn moscow, but it is very worthwhile.
The moscow method allows you to deal with uncertainty by grouping requirements into three categories: known unknowns, unknown unknowns and known knowns. This prevents the planning fallacy from creeping into your backlog grooming sessions . You can then use a priority matrix or swim lane map for assigning effort estimation. And be sure no one misunderstands the priority of each category as Moscow helps teams give priority to what they don’t know instead of forcing them to estimate based on their current knowledge level.
By working in small batches and prioritising what we don’t yet know , we make our best guess about the top priorities without being influenced by inaccurate information . The moscow method can help you plan better by prioritising unknown unknowns.
Moscow helps teams groom their backlog in small batches instead of forcing them to estimate based on what they know or don’t yet know . The moscow method is an approach for managing requirements and making sure your team’s planning fallacy doesn’t sabotage your backlog grooming sessions.
The moscow technique was introduced by Peter Drevian is the author of the book, Beyond Software Architecture: Creating and Sustaining Winning Solutions (Addison-Wesley Professional, 2004) . You can also read more about Moscow on the Manifesto for Agile Software Development website where Peter Drevian is listed as one of the signatories.
The moscow method is designed to combat the common desire to predict progress based on what team members think they know or don’t yet know . It’s common for people to overestimate what they can do in the short term and underestimate what they can accomplish in the long term . Nothing sabotages morale like promising your stakeholders you’ll deliver a feature , then missing your deadline by 100 percent because you thought you knew how long it would take, but underestimated how much effort it actually required .
Briefly described, moscow prioritization makes decisions about which stories should be done next based on what has the moscow priority number (MPN), which is calculated using this formula: M P N = x p l o d e x
where x is the number of hours it will take to complete a story , and plode is the length of time until the next moscow event, meaning anything that’s scheduled to happen at moscow time.
The ” moscow method” is more formally known as Scrum-but . And if you want some practical advice about how to apply moscow prioritization in your real -world software project, read on! But not for too long or I’ll give away some Moscow secrets.