3 Benefits to Using a Scoring Model such as RICE in Product Teams

By | February 15, 2022

A RICE scoring model refers to a set of evaluations or metrics that enable a product team to compare and prioritize features and functionalities before embarking on development.

1) Prioritize:

A scoring model allows for the comparison and prioritization of features and functionalities in an objective manner, increasing the chances of hitting deadlines. This is especially helpful when working towards a release date when there are limited resources available to complete the task list. 

Only by comparing all aspects can you make sure that you don’t miss anything important. The right scoring model helps you cut through the clutter, highlight what’s critical, and move forward confidently with clear direction which in turn will improve your success rate at hitting deadlines.

2) Communicate:

When used correctly, a scoring model brings clarity in communication between different team members and across teams. A scoring model can be used as a framework to align product management, development, and marketing efforts. This reduces the risk of misunderstandings that might turn into bigger problems later on.

3) Reduce Risk:

A scoring model reduces the risk of missed opportunities due to a lack of clarity or consensus about what matters most for a release to succeed. Without comparing all aspects it’s easy for a team to lose focus and make costly mistakes that can jeopardize successful delivery.

What is RICE? And why should we care?

Well…it stands for: Reach, Impact, Confidence, Ease of Use. When these factors are considered early on in the development life cycle of a product or feature, it helps ensure that you’ve got the right thing at the right time for your users. 

In other words: “A checklist before building something new.” Also nice: The acronym itself rolls off your tongue! Some benefits of using RICE might include: Re-focusing ideas back to user goals and value Estimating timeframes for development, Refining the product idea.

Here are three specific benefits in more detail:

1. Re-focus ideas back to user goals and value

By being explicit about what your users want in terms of impact, ease-of-use, etc., it helps keep the team on track with their goal(s). It also forces a level of common understanding within the team when discussing options around ideas or features – which is especially helpful when you have different backgrounds or areas of expertise represented. 

Instead of saying “Oh yeah it’s great I love it,” the team can look at what value this might bring to users specifically. If everyone is on board with this view, then it becomes much easier to make decisions around what to do next.

2. Estimating timeframes for development, Refining the product idea

By understanding more specifically how users will interact with the new feature or product – in terms of goals and impact – it becomes easier to decide on aspects like scope, time estimates, etc. With this information, your team can make a data-driven decision by looking at past work that’s been done on similar projects (if any) or getting feedback from customers. 

This provides some very helpful insight into what is feasible by talking with others within the organization who have experience developing similar features/products. 

And finally – taking some time early on to understand your target audience helps you better refine the product features so you are building something that people want. For example, you might find out that the idea is really cool but not something your target audience would use. 

This in turn means it might be a bad investment to pursue further – so being explicit about these details upfront helps inform what you do later.

3. Establishing success criteria

With RICE in mind, your team can establish clear success criteria for each project or feature that can help inform on priorities and decision-making. This is especially helpful when deciding on new features because you have a set of guidelines for how this will be measured going forward. 

For example, You can measure “reach” by looking at how many new users sign on as a result of the new product launch/feature addition. Or if you’re working with an existing product, you can measure “impact” by looking at how your app usage changes among existing users. 

This type of information becomes incredibly helpful in being able to objectively evaluate whether or not a feature is actually working. In the end, it’s always good to be explicit about what success looks like – whether that means user growth/engagement, increased revenue, etc.

RICE helps teams understand their users’ goals and impact when using a new product or feature from the beginning. It also provides a checklist for evaluating priority and making decisions around product development which can help teams avoid costly mistakes later on.

Conclusion

RICE is an incredibly useful acronym to keep in mind. By being more explicit about what your users want, the timeframes involved with the development, and the success of a new product/feature – teams can avoid confusion or miscommunication when developing something for their users.