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Any product manager knows that mastering prioritization is key to adept decision-making, and the RICE scoring model is one of many feature prioritization frameworks that can help. For product managers, RICE is more than an acronym; it enables you to make informed decisions. Here’s how you can make use of this prioritization framework.

What Is The RICE Scoring Model?

The RICE score, used by product managers and teams globally, is a prioritization model that focuses on four core metrics to help you make better-informed decisions for your product roadmap:

  • R: Reach
  • I: Impact
  • C: Confidence
  • E: Effort

With numerous project ideas in your backlog, RICE provides a structured approach to evaluating and prioritizing product features. 

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The History Of The RICE Scoring Model

Sean McBride, co-founder at Intercom, played a significant role in popularizing this prioritization method. Intercom, known for its messaging prowess, introduced the RICE framework to mitigate the challenge faced by product teams worldwide: a truckload of initiatives and only so many team members and time to execute them.

How Does The RICE Scoring Model Work?

It’s all about the metrics. By understanding each component of the RICE framework, you can eliminate your personal biases as a product manager and make more objective decisions for your product development.

Reach

In the context of the RICE prioritization process, reach helps determine the number of users or stakeholders impacted by a new feature over a given timeframe. A high reach score means a larger number of people will benefit.

Impact

Impact revolves around the significance a feature holds for users. An impact score can range from minimal impact to massive impact. Features with high impact drastically elevate the user's experience or your product metrics.

Confidence

It's all about certainty. A confidence score shines a light on the reliability of your reach and impact estimates. Backed by data? You’re looking at high confidence. Relying on a gut feeling? That might be medium or even low confidence.

Effort

Effort is measured in person-months and signifies the amount of time and resources your team will need to deploy a new product feature. An effort score gives product managers a clear picture of what’s achievable in a given time period.

So, how do you prioritize your roadmap?

Prioritizing your product roadmap requires a clear template. Follow this RICE scoring system formula:

RICEScore=Effort(Reach×Impact×Confidence)​

Features with higher scores are higher priority. This prioritization framework ensures stakeholder and user needs align perfectly with your team's capabilities, allowing for quicker decision-making.

You may even find a hidden gem in your product backlog. An idea that was initially brushed off as low impact, may actually promise significant value with minimal input once you apply this prioritization model.

The RICE scoring model is a helpful guide for product managers and teams. When you’re introducing a new feature, evaluating product metrics, and revising your roadmap, you can’t always rely on a gut feeling. With the right product management software and prioritization process, you can feel confident in your decision-making journey as a product manager.

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By Hannah Clark

Hannah Clark is the Editor of The Product Manager. Following six years of experience in the tech industry, she pivoted into the content space where she's had the pleasure of working with some of the most brilliant voices in the product world. Driven by insatiable curiosity and a love of bringing people together, her mission is to foster a fun, vibrant, and inspiring community of product people.