RICE Framework for Product Managers

New ideas can come from anywhere: customers, engineering, sales, marketing, partners, customer service, competition, and more. But how do you identify which ideas will be the most beneficial for the business—and what quantifiable method do you use to determine this?

There are multiple methods available. We’ll take a quick look at the first three product strategy models before diving into one in particular: the RICE framework.

The Eisenhower Matrix:

Often used to prioritize tasks and for time management, it can also be used for features prioritization. The Eisenhower Matrix allows product managers to quickly identify the main features to focus on and leave the others on the side.

The DFV Framework:

Also called Desirability/Feasibility/Viability or ICE (Impact/Confidence/Ease). This Framework is the most common and easiest to apply. The team can define their own scale for each variable and it helps product managers very quickly come up with a roadmap taking into consideration all elements.

The Kano Model:

The Kano Model is a customer-centric method that takes into account customers’ feedback. It is always a good idea to put customers at the center of business decision-making. This method is based on surveys and, depending on the panel, the results can vary in quality. Moreover, taking only into account customers’ sentiments is limitating as we also need to consider how the organization can really deliver on the idea and if it would make sense for the organization within its product portfolio. Kano is, therefore, more suited if combined with the DVF Framework.

In general, Kano does not give enough granularity in the prioritization, which can be needed if we have to make a trade-off between two features, for example.

Scoring the Variables

Consider this the ICE framework taken to a deeper level. The advantage of the RICE Framework is that it can give a good deal of granularity in prioritization. Here are a few ways to score the variables; your team can also come up with a rating that can be different and more suitable or more frequently referenced within the organization.

Reach: Number of customers/users that would be impacted by the feature within a defined period of time.

Effort: Difficulty for the organization to implement the feature in man/hour (requires many months of development, larger teams, does not have the internal skills…)

  • 3 = massive impact
  • 2 = high impact
  • 1 = medium impact
  • .5 = low impact
  • .25 = minimal impact

Confidence: Level of confidence about the accuracy of the metrics and estimates defined for this particular feature.

  • 100% = high confidence
  • 80% = medium confidence
  • 50% = low confidence

Impact: How much the feature will help the customer use your product/service.

  • 3 = massive impact
  • 2 = high impact
  • 1 = medium impact
  • 0.5 = low impact
  • 0.25 = minimal impact

Feature Score

Once all features are rated for the four criteria, the RICE formula can to be applied to each of them:

(Reach x Impact x Confidence)/Effort = Feature Score

All features can then be ranked based on the scores. The higher the score, the better the feature.

On top of the RICE formula, you can add another factor to allow even more granularity, which is the external factor—what the competition is doing.

  • 3 = basic feature
  • 2 = feature to be on par with the competition
  • 1 = feature to differentiate from the competition

Good prioritization is critical:

  1. It is the best way to justify the investments and to get the highest ROI
  2. It helps build a roadmap and the long-term vision
  3. It helps with smooth development work and swift delivery.

Not putting enough emphasis on the prioritization exercise might be a mistake that is to regret in the future.

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