There are many different frameworks and methods you can use to help you prioritize features in your roadmap—many of which we’ve discussed on this blog. But one of the most popular prioritization frameworks, the RICE Method, deserves a little more spotlight.
Keep reading to find out what the RICE Method is, how it can help you, and how we use the RICE Method to help you prioritize important features on your UserVitals roadmaps.
What is the Rice Method?
Put simply, the RICE Method is a way of objectively scoring and prioritizing features developed by Intercom and based on four components: Reach, Impact, Confidence and Effort. These components are then weighed and scored based on a unique formula that can be used consistently for every feature on your roadmap. The RICE Method is meant to weigh both the pros and cons of each feature, including cost, benefits and much more.
Using the RICE scoring model can offer product teams many benefits. For one, it can help product managers make better-informed objective decisions about their product that are based on data. This can minimize personal biases and emotion in the decision making process. Likewise, it can help support their decisions and priorities to outside and higher-up influences like stakeholders and CEOs.
Each aspect of the RICE method is equally important. Let’s talk about what each of them mean and how they relate to your overall product.
Your reach is how many people this chosen feature will impact and affect within a specific period. Generally, this is measured by the number of people or specific events over a given time period, such as signups per month or sales per quarter.
All of this info must come from your product metrics, and will depend on what you want to focus on and what makes the most sense for your product.
In RICE, impact is defined as the impact your chosen feature will have on an individual customer—for instance, how much that feature is likely to influence signups or conversion rates, or how much it will increase customer satisfaction.
Unlike Reach, Impact is hard to measure with quantitative metrics. As such, some people find it easier to measure it on a scale of 0-3 or something similar in order to give it a specific number.
Your confidence is the level of assurance you have in your ideas and estimates—essentially, a “gut feeling” about your ideas. This can help you choose between features you believe will have a high impact but aren’t highly planned and highly-defined features you aren’t sure will positively benefit the company.
Confidence is usually measured in percentages, although you can use a scoring method as well to help you decide where to rank features. Generally speaking, anything below 50% is considered very low confidence.
Lastly, effort is an estimate of the time your project will require from all members of your product teams. It is generally measured as person-month, or the work a team member can do in a single month. One good rule of thumb is to keep your estimates rough here and stick to whole numbers or halves.
While the other aspects have all been positives (i.e. more confidence is good), high effort can be a bad sign. You don’t want to sink all your effort into a single feature.
Calculating Your Rice Score
Now that we have all four aspects figured out, let’s discuss how to calculate your RICE score.
The formula is simple: you multiply your reach, confidence and impact together, and then divide that number by effort.
This number will measure the total impact per time worked and give you a numerical estimate which projects or features should be prioritized.
But we’re not done yet. Once you’ve calculated all the RICE scores for each feature or project, look them over to make sure all of the scores make sense. Do any of them seem to rank too high or too low? If so, go over their scores again and see if they make more sense then.
Extra Things to Keep In Mind
While the RICE prioritization method is pretty simple in and of itself, there are important things to keep in mind to help you take full advantage of its help.
Focus On One Goal
The RICE Method can be most helpful when you’re focusing on one goal per quarter—especially if you’re a smaller team that can’t afford to focus on multiple goals. After that, move onto your next most important goal and so forth.
If you have a bigger team, consider organizing your team by sub-goals, and splitting them up so each sub-team can each deal with their own goal. Both of these strategies can help give your team a clear objective and boost motivation.
Bring Your Team in On Decision-Making
Bringing your team in on the decision-making process by allowing them to decide which projects to tackle first can help them feel more connected to their work and improve workflow. Plus, they work with your product directly—they may have a better idea of how to improve your product than most others.
Learn When To Break the Rules
Lastly, while RICE scores can be incredibly helpful in helping you figure out what features to prioritize and devote more time to, it’s better as a guideline than a hard-and-fast rule. There will be some necessary projects that you’ll need to work on in your product’s development even though they may score lower, or high-score projects that depend on lower-score projects; both of these will be necessary to devote time and resources to.
RICE scores are very helpful in helping you make decisions about your product, but your intuition as a product manager is also incredibly important. While an objective framework can help, your own subjective opinions also have a place.
How UserVitals Can Help You Prioritize With the Rice Method
UserVitals can help you utilize the RICE prioritization method when creating your roadmaps. At UserVitals, our job is to help collect and organize customer feedback for you from several different sources, thus allowing you to get a better understanding of what your users need.
Each individual piece of information is known as an Insight. These insights can be sorted by type, source, or common theme—whatever works best for you and your team—into collections known as Stories.
These Stories can help give you a better idea of what your users want. What common themes pop up a lot? Which Stories have the most Insights attached to them? While collecting this data in general can help you connect with your customers and understand what they want from you, they can also help you figure out each of the four aspects of RICE: the most requested features may give you an idea of reach and impact on your overall customer base, and while we can’t help you with effort, knowing this data can help you be more confident in your decisions.
UserVitals also makes it easy for you to create a roadmap based on these metrics. Each Story can be added to your roadmap as a feature and then divided by status: up next, in progress, and eventually, completed. Your RICE scores will help you decide which features fall into which sections.
We keep our main roadmap clean and concise to make it easier for your team, your users and shareholders to quickly get information on your product’s future, but you can also click on individual items to get more information and longer descriptions of each. There’s also a section for users to leave feedback on individual features, giving you the information you may need to reprioritize certain items or add new features as they come.
Your roadmap will need to be flexible and adapt to your customer bases’ changing needs, and as such, we make it easy for you to add, change and move around features on your roadmap.
To learn more about UserVitals and our roadmaps, sign up today.