Within the bustling coronary heart of tech, the place new concepts sprout sooner than we are able to are likely to them, Intercom—a messaging software program firm—discovered itself at a crossroads. Sean McBride, a product supervisor at Intercom, alongside along with his group, rifled by a buffet of prioritization fashions, looking for the one that will greatest serve their distinctive challenges. And whereas these pre-existing fashions supplied insights, none really resonated with the exact wants of Intercom’s ever-expanding universe of undertaking concepts.
So, what does an organization do when it’s caught between a rock and a tough place? It innovates.
McBride and his group weren’t about to let current fashions maintain them again. They rolled up their sleeves and carved out their very own….
Enter the RICE prioritization mannequin—a contemporary, pragmatic strategy that melds 4 clear-cut elements: attain, influence, confidence, and energy.
By devising a formulation that churned these parts collectively, the group birthed a software that spat out a transparent, concise rating for any undertaking concept thrown its method. No extra second-guessing. No extra “what if?” Only a straight-up, goal system to information their product roadmap. And guess what? This wasn’t only a makeshift software—it dramatically refined Intercom’s decision-making prowess.
Stripped right down to its core, RICE is a beacon for product managers navigating the foggy waters of product roadmaps. It’s an easy framework, but profound in its software, serving to groups pinpoint which tasks deserve the limelight primarily based on 4 pivotal standards. In the event you’ve ever felt overwhelmed by the tidal wave of duties demanding your consideration, RICE would possibly simply be your lifesaver.
Now, let’s uncover the guts of the RICE mannequin and learn the way you can also wield it in your area.
The 4 Components of the RICE Prioritization Mannequin
RICE stands as a compass, directing you thru the storm of choices with its 4 cardinal factors:
Right here’s the place we step again from our private inclinations, placing ourselves within the sneakers of the customers.
Attain asks a important query: how many individuals will this undertaking resonate with over an outlined interval? For instance, for my group at LifeHack, this would possibly translate to “what number of members will this undertaking influence over a single quarter?”.
The important thing? Concrete numbers. No magic, no guessing—attain is framed by way of folks or occasions per time interval, be it “clients per quarter” or “gross sales monthly”. It requires data-driven proof, not hopeful conjectures pulled from the ether.
Impression is the muscle of the undertaking, the power it exerts on particular person customers. Will it nudge the needle, and in that case, how far?
For one group, it could be quantified as “how a lot will this undertaking enhance the conversion price when a consumer subscribes to it?”
Precise measurement will be elusive, so Intercom units a scale
- 3 for “large influence”
- 2 for “excessive”
- 1 for “medium”
It’s a system that, whereas not excellent, avoids leaving us stranded within the swamp of subjective guesswork.
Amid the glint of formidable concepts, confidence acts as the truth test. It begs the query: how sure are you, actually, about these estimates? This issue is the reins that gradual you down once you’re charging forward with little greater than excessive hopes.
Confidence is expressed as a share. Easy selections preserve the method nimble and keep away from resolution quagmire:
- 100% for “excessive confidence”
- 80% for “medium”
- 50% for “low”
It’s a second for candid reflection: how stable is the bottom you’re constructing on?
Effort is the useful resource toll: the time and power that you simply and your group might want to pour into this undertaking. It’s counted in “person-months”, a tough estimate of the work one group member can do in a month.
Right here, entire numbers (or 0.5 for lighter masses) suffice. In RICE, extra effort doesn’t earn a gold star—it really dilutes the rating, reminding you that pace and agility are virtues.
In a world the place ‘extra’ is usually seen as ‘higher’, RICE flips the script. It’s the quiet however steadfast information that whispers,
“Select correctly. Make it depend.”
How you can Use the RICE Mannequin (Step-by-Step Information)
The RICE mannequin isn’t a fancy riddle—it’s a compass, designed to steer you successfully by the waves of tasks and options..
1. Map Out the Terrain
First, jot down an inventory of the potential new product options ready to be prioritized. This isn’t restricted to the brand new and glossy; it contains the stalwarts of your backlog too.
2. Assign the Scores
- Attain. For every enterprise in your checklist, gauge what number of customers will really feel its presence. A selected time-frame can preserve this tidy—like customers monthly. If income sings to you, MRR is a worthy quantity to serenade.
- Impression. Foresee the ripples every undertaking may make on consumer satisfaction or income. Your scale would possibly learn ‘minimal’ on the low finish and crescendo to ‘large’. Tune this scale to the melodies of your buyer suggestions.
- Effort. Sum up the hours or months your group wants to take a position throughout all fronts—growth, design, testing.
- Confidence. Measuring the power of your convictions, are these estimates rock stable (100%) or extra akin to throwing darts at nighttime (<50%)?
3. Crunch These Numbers
Together with your scores set, apply the formulation for every undertaking or characteristic:
RICE Rating = (Attain * Impression * Confidence) / Effort
That can assist you do the maths, I’ve crafted a Notion Template during which you solely have to plug in these estimates.
4. Prepare the Tasks
Prepare the tasks or options by their RICE scores, highest first. Usually, these excessive flyers are the treasures you’re searching—they get constructed first.
5. Huddle with Your Crew
Lay the scores and your proposed route on the desk to your group and stakeholders to see. Right here’s the place the talk heats up, the place you untangle discrepancies, deal with issues, or unearth new insights that would sway the journey.
6. Tweak and Revise
Persistently revisit and retune your RICE scores as contemporary intel rolls in or as your organization’s flag is hoisted in new instructions. This ensures your group’s power sails in concord together with your ever-evolving objectives and that your treasure—time—is spent correctly.
Our group had a slew of potential tasks, starting from redesigning our web site to growing a brand new course and launching an e-mail publication collection. With restricted sources, we wanted a rational approach to determine what to deal with first. So we used the RICE mannequin to assist us prioritize:
1. Figuring out Tasks
Our choices: web site redesign, new on-line course growth, and e-mail publication collection launch.
2. Defining the Components
We tailored Attain, Impression, Confidence, and Effort to LifeHack’s objectives—specifically, growing consumer engagement and course enrollments.
3. Scoring Every Issue
For the web site redesign:
- Attain: excessive—impacting 95% of our customers
- Impression: excessive (3x), anticipating improved consumer expertise and course sign-ups
- Confidence: 85% Assured in these estimates
- Effort: pegged at 2 person-months.
For the brand new on-line course:
- Attain: 60% of our current consumer base, as per earlier course enrollment charges
- Impression: excessive (3x), anticipating it to spice up LifeHack’s status and income
- Confidence: 80%
- Effort: 3 person-months.
For the e-mail publication collection:
- Attain: 70% of our subscribers
- Impression: excessive (3x), believing it might foster consumer loyalty and encourage course sign-ups
- Confidence: 90% Assured in these estimates
- Effort: 2 person-months.
4. Calculating RICE Scores
After the maths, the web site redesign had the best RICE rating, suggesting it was essentially the most environment friendly approach to obtain impactful outcomes.
So our undertaking rankings are:
- Web site Redesign
- E mail E-newsletter Collection
- New On-line Course Growth
5. Verify with the Crew and Modify When Essential
I shared these rankings with our group and stakeholders. We had a dialogue, with some surprising insights from our buyer assist group, who famous frequent consumer requests for a brand new course.
Given this new suggestions, we determined to re-evaluate the Attain and Confidence elements for the brand new on-line course, which moved it to the second of our precedence checklist.
The RICE mannequin is your compass, turning infinite choices into a transparent path. It gives a scientific strategy, serving to you reply the pivotal query, ‘what comes subsequent?’ with information, not simply intestine feeling. It’s about aligning your group’s efforts with impactful tasks, justified by clear, quantifiable standards.
As your objectives evolve, RICE adapts. It encourages common re-evaluation, making certain your group’s focus stays sharp and related.
With RICE in hand, you may set sail purposefully in the direction of significant influence.