What is the RICE Prioritization Framework?

RICE Framework

The RICE prioritization framework is a method designed to assist product managers in deciding which products, features, and initiatives to prioritize by scoring these items based on four key factors. These factors—reach, impact, confidence, and effort—form the acronym RICE.

Implementing a scoring framework like RICE offers several advantages to product teams. It helps product managers make more informed decisions, reduce personal biases in the decision-making process, and justify their priorities to stakeholders such as executive teams.

Here’s a concise overview of the framework:

The History of the RICE Prioritization Framework

The product team at Intercom, a messaging software company, developed the RICE model to enhance their internal decision-making processes.

Despite being familiar with various other prioritization models, Intercom’s product team found that none adequately addressed their unique set of competing project ideas. Consequently, they devised their scoring framework based on four factors (reach, impact, confidence, and effort) and a formula for quantifying and combining them. This formula produces a single score, which can be applied uniformly to diverse ideas, providing an objective method for prioritizing initiatives on their product roadmap.

How Does the RICE Prioritization Framework Work?

To apply the RICE framework, evaluate each idea (such as new products, features, etc.) using the following formula:

Reach

The first factor is reach, which estimates the number of people your initiative will affect over a specific timeframe.

Define what “reach” means for your context and choose the timeframe for measurement. This could be a month, a quarter, etc. Reach could refer to customer transactions, free-trial signups, or the number of existing users who will engage with your new feature.

For example, if you expect your project to bring in 150 new customers in the next quarter, your reach score is 150. Alternatively, if you estimate 1,200 new prospects visiting your trial download page within a month, with a 30% signup rate, your reach score is 360.

Impact

Impact measures the potential effect of your initiative, either through quantitative goals like new conversions or qualitative objectives like increased customer satisfaction.

Even with quantitative metrics, isolating the impact of a single project can be challenging. To estimate impact, Intercom uses a five-tiered scoring system:

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

Confidence

Confidence adjusts for how much data supports your reach and impact estimates.

If you have solid data for your reach estimate but your impact score is more intuitive, your confidence score will reflect this. Intercom’s tiered confidence scores are:

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

A confidence score below 50% suggests the project might be a “moonshot,” indicating a need to re-evaluate priorities.

Effort

Effort represents the denominator in the RICE equation, quantifying the resources needed to complete the initiative, typically in person-months.

For example, if a project is estimated to require three person-months, the effort score is 3. Intercom considers anything under a month as 0.5.

Start Prioritizing Your Roadmap

Ready to prioritize your projects with precision? Get expert guidance from the team at Orpical to score your opportunities and initiatives using the RICE framework.

The RICE prioritization framework offers a consistent and objective method for product teams to assess the relative importance of various project ideas. If other prioritization models haven’t been delivered, RICE might be your solution.

Want to elevate your project planning? Connect with us for tailored support in applying the RICE framework and discover how it can transform your team’s efficiency.