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No Bad Questions About Project Management

Definition of RICE scoring model

What is the RICE scoring model

The RICE scoring model is a prioritization framework used in product management to make informed decisions about which features, projects, or initiatives to focus on.

RICE stands for:

  • Reach (R): The number of people impacted by the project or feature over a specific time period.
  • Impact (I): The expected magnitude of change or benefit the project will bring, often measured in metrics like increased revenue, engagement, or customer satisfaction.
  • Confidence (C): The level of certainty in your estimates for reach and impact, typically expressed as a percentage (0-100%).
  • Effort (E): The amount of time and resources required to implement the project or feature, often measured in person/months or weeks.

Think of it like this:

Reach: How many people will use this new feature?

Impact: How much will it improve things (e.g., more sales,  loyal users)?

Confidence: How sure are you that your idea will work?

Effort: How much time and money will it take to build?

How to use the RICE framework

In a nutshell there are 4 steps to implement this framework:

  1. Compile a list of all items you're considering prioritizing.
  2. For each item, assign scores (usually on a 1-3 or 1-5 scale) for Reach, Impact, Confidence, and Effort.
  3. Use the formula: RICE Score = (Reach x Impact x Confidence) / Effort
  4. Rank project/features. List the projects or features in descending order of their RICE scores. Higher RICE scores suggest a greater potential return on investment (ROI) and a higher priority.

What are the benefits of the RICE method

It provides undoubtful benefits:

  • RICE makes prioritization more objective and transparent, reducing guesswork.
  • It provides better team alignment. Everyone speaks the same language when discussing priorities.
  • RICE focuses on big wins, since it pushes to work on projects/features with the widest reach and impact.
  • Learning from results. Framework will track progress and see if your initial estimates were accurate.

Mistakes to avoid when using the RICE method

Here is the list of recommendations to know upfront to consider the RICE framework:

  • High confidence scores don't always mean a project is worth doing.
  • Be realistic about effort. Don't underestimate how much time and resources projects will take. Ensure accuracy in Reach, Impact, and Effort scores to avoid misleading results.
  • Consider aspects like alignment with company strategy or user pain points that RICE scores may not fully capture.
  • RICE is a guide, not a rule. Consider other factors that don't fit neatly into the framework.

RICE isn't the only chef in town, there are several alternatives:

Kano Model

Focus: Customer satisfaction and delight.

How it works: Categorizes features as basic, expected, exciting, or indifferent based on their impact on customer satisfaction.

Strengths: Prioritizes features that users truly care about and helps avoid waste on features that provide no value.

Weaknesses: Relies on customer feedback, which may not always be readily available or accurate.

MoSCoW Method

Focus: Balancing business needs with user expectations.

How it works: It classifies features as must-have, should-have, could-have, or won't-have based on their importance and feasibility.

Strengths: Provides a clear prioritizing framework based on essential and desirable features.

Weaknesses: Can be subjective and may not account for potential future needs or opportunities.

9-Box Matrix

Focus: Quickly identifying high-impact, low-effort opportunities.

How it works: Plots features on a matrix with axes for impact and effort, categorizing them into high, medium, and low for each.

Strengths: Provides a visual and intuitive way to identify quick wins and high-value projects.

Weaknesses: Oversimplifies complex factors and may not capture all project nuances.

Key Takeaways

  • RICE is a prioritization framework in product management.
  • Scores: Reach, Impact, Confidence, Effort. Higher scores prioritize higher return on investment.
  • Benefits: Clear, objective, aligned decisions, focus on big wins, track progress.
  • Avoid: Overconfidence, unrealistic effort, ignoring strategy & user needs.
  • Alternatives: Kano (customer satisfaction), MoSCoW (balancing needs & expectations), 9-Box Matrix (quick wins).