These methods help sort large amount of information and identify themes and priorities.


Affinity mapping is a method for finding patterns and themes in qualitative (non-numbers based) data, then prioritising the themes that emerge.

Why should I use it?

It helps us to make sense of qualitative data, which sometimes can be messy and broad.

How does it work?

Similar insights are grouped and sorted until themes emerge.

Participants vote on which themes will be further developed. All participants are given an equal number of red sticky dots (usually between 3–10, depending on the number of themes). They may stick all their dots to one theme they feel strongly about or distribute amongst a number of themes they think are relevant.

dot voting.JPG


Dot Voting is a prioritisation method used to refine focus of a project in order of importance.

Why should I use it?

This method allows to see patterns in which themes are considered as the most important and are in immediate need of addressing. Limited amount of Dots (i.e. votes) evokes focussed decision making in terms of priorities.

How does it work?

Participants are given a set amount of coloured dots to assign to already established themes. Each person can give as many of the dots they have available to one or multiple themes, according to own perspective on their respective levels of priority.

Providing different colours of Dots can help distinguish between i.e. levels of staff, location of workshop if accumulating data, or allows for any other appropriate grouping.



MoSCoW Prioritisation Method is used to reach a common understanding on the importance of requirements for the delivery of a service or a project.

The acronym MoSCoW stands for the first letter of each of the four categories used in the method:

  • Must have

  • Should have

  • Could have

  • Won’t have


This prioritisation method was originally developed by Dai Clegg (1994).


Why should I use it?

The four categories clearly lay out the levels of importance of the requirements for delivery of a service. This method also allows to overcome the issues of some simpler prioritisation methods, as these often provide space for indecision i.e. by allowing middle option label, or result in unclear expectations for service delivery. The MoSCoW four labels help identify what the concrete expectations of delivering a service are.


What do I need?

  • Post-it notes

  • Sharpie type pens


How does it work?

Items resulting from idea generation methods, such as brainstorming, written down on post-it notes are put up on a wall. Four categories are introduced to participants - Must have, Should have, Could have, and Won’t have on coloured post-its, laid out in four individual columns. All post-it notes with individual items are then assigned to the categories accordingly.


Must have

The requirements in Must have category are crucial for the design and delivery of the service in question. Even if a single Must have requirement is not included, the project should fail - which is why sometimes MUST can be interpreted as an acronym for Minimum Usable Subset. Upon agreement, certain requirements can be downgraded from Must have, i.e. if other items become more relevant.


Should have

These requirements are important, but the delivery of service will not fail without them. They may often be equally as important as Must have requirements, but perhaps not as time-critical, or there might be alternative ways of meeting the needs.


Could have
The items labelled as Could have are desirable and potentially elevate the experience of the service, but are not essential, and often come at additional cost. These are therefore often expected upon time and resource permit.


Won't have

The requirements in this column have been agreed as the least critical items, not appropriate at present, or with the least payback expected. These items are either dropped, or can be rescheduled for consideration during later stages.