Prioritizing is one of the timeless challenges of project and product management. Timeless in the sense that individuals and teams have always asked it (and will continue to, no doubt); but also in the sense that it must be asked time and time again.
The RICE scoring model, or RICE framework, attempts to help reduce bias in this process and provide a quick way to objectively rank key features and initiatives. Relatively recently developed by Intercom, the RICE prioritization framework has been used by product managers, teams and leaders for decades.
What is the RICE scoring model?
The RICE scoring model is broken down into four sections.
- Reach: How many people will this feature or product influence or affect?
- Impact: How weighty will this feature be on important project and business outcomes? (e.g. conversion rates)
- Confidence: How confident are you in your estimates for Reach and Impact?
- Effort: How costly or effortful will it be to build this feature or product?
These sections are each scored, and a formula is used to derive the final RICE score for any given product or feature.
So, when performed in a table of features, you can quickly sort and rank different features based on their final RICE score--which can be especially helpful when the feature list is long and resources are scarce.
The first factor looks at how many people your feature or initiative will reach in the given timeline. The first thing to do before listing Reach scores is to settle on a clear metric.
You can always use a scale of 1-10 to keep this even, but if you have real data to work with that may not be the most helpful thing.
But not all 'impressions' are equal. Say one initiative looked like it might bring 1,000 visitors to a key landing page, while another initiative might get 50,000 facebook impressions... it's clear that these aren't really the same thing, and so it wouldn't be helpful to include 1,000 versus 50,000 in the Reach column of your framework.
Instead, it's important to establish a common metric by which to compare your features and initiatives--worst case, if you can't settle on a good metric, you can always give a rating from 1 to 10 or 1 to 100, based on the total 'magnitude' of reach... however you eventually plan to measure that.
Impact, on the other hand, is scored on a common 5 point scale. Intercom's original scale looked like this:
- 3 = massive impact
- 2 = high impact
- 1 = medium impact
- .5 = low impact
- .25 = minimal impact
Confidence how confident you are in your estimates for Reach and Impact. If you have strong data to support your Reach estimates, say, but not as much for the Impact, then you might give a somewhat milder confidence rating than if you have good reasons to support your estimates on both fronts.
Like with all other scores, you can do this on a feature by feature basis.
As a guide, you can use:
- 100% = High confidence
- 80% = Medium confidence
- 50% = Low confidence
Lastly, Effort can be used as a literal metric that reflects the number of 'person-months' needed to complete a feature or project. Or, you can also substitute a 1-5 rating if you're not working on a team or have a more appropriate way of measuring business resources for your situation.
As a note, Intercom listed anything under 1 month as a '.5' score.
The RICE Scoring Formula
To derive your RICE score for a given feature, the formula is simple:
(Reach x Impact x Confidence) / Effort
As you can see, the Effort factor is the only item on the denominator--effectively setting it as the main 'negative' consideration in your total score.
How to use the RICE scoring framework Notion template
To use the RICE scoring framework, you first need to gather information about each feature or product you are considering. This might include estimating things like user numbers for Reach and projected conversion rates for Impact.
Next, score each section based on your estimates. For example, if you think that a given product will influence 1 million users, you might score this as a 10 for Reach.
Once all sections are scored, the RICE score column will auto-calculate the relevant scores based on your inputs. Typically, the highest scoring products and features will be those that should be prioritized, and the Notion table is auto-sorted to show the highest scoring features at the top of the list.
You can duplicate the RICE scoring framework template with the 'Your member template' button on this page, so long as you're logged into your Landmark account.