The RICE framework is one of the most popular methods among product teams. It helps determine which products and features should be placed on their roadmaps by scoring these items according to four factors (Reach, Impact, Confidence, and Effort).
The RICE prioritization framework is a model recently developed by the team at Intercom, an app designed to connect companies and customers. The Intercom team felt that standard prioritization frameworks lacked flexibility and were disconnected from what matters most when deciding what initiatives, features, and improvements to prioritize.
A RICE score lets you quantify the specific importance and compare initiatives or feature ideas to many others.
RICE= [(Reach x Impact x Confidence)/Effort]
The 'reach' score is the number of users you will impact by implementing a feature in a given timeframe.
If it's hard to determine the exact reach, try to use a 1-10 scale for different levels e.g., 5 will be useful for 50% of our users.
Impact ranks your ideas by the amount of influence on the objective. You should identify one objective to aim for. The five-tier scoring system helps measure expected impact:
3 = massive impact (XL)
2 = high impact (L)
1 = medium impact (M)
.5 = low impact (S)
.25 = minimal impact (XS)
With confidence, you can score how confident you are in your reach and impact estimates values.
Estimate with 20%, 50%, 80%, 100%, where 20% = Moonshot; 50% = Low Confidence; 80% = Medium Confidence; 100% = High Confidence.
Confidence supports or skepticism your estimates. You are confident only when you have backup data. Confidence scores help to make the evaluation more data-driven and less emotional.
With effort, you can measure how much time the feature will require from the whole team.
Estimate with any positive number—the number of “person-months.”
Effort ranks your ideas by the amount of time their implementation requires. It completes the prioritization with the Value/Effort balance and helps to surface the Quick Wins.
Bringing your team in on the decision-making process by letting them decide which projects to tackle first can help them feel more connected to their work and improve workflow.
Agree on time frames e.g., we calculate the impact for the next three months.
Discuss and unify the values with the team before starting a prioritization session - it improves the scoring method, and everybody will be on the same page regarding scores.
RICE Priority Matrix
Based on your scoring, feature ideas or initiatives can be visualized on a matrix. It defines categories that are additional information to the priority score.
Quick wins - Do these first to bring value and see results in no time! Big value for the lowest effort.
Strategic - These will bring huge value but they usually require more time and resources. Plan for them properly.
Maybes - Consider implementing these items with the team. On the one hand, they won't require too much time on the other hand they don’t deliver real high value.
Don't - These items take too long to complete and the value isn't that big. Leave them as last or skip them all together.