Your backlog is growing but is it keeping up with the market? Or how about the needs of your customers? Product prioritization is possibly one of the most divisive and challenging parts of a product manager’s job. Not only do they have to figure out what to build for their customers, they also need to figure out if their team has the capacity or resources to build it at all!

Luckily, there’s a number of frameworks that PMs can leverage to make faster, informed decisions. We’ve detailed 9 popular product prioritization frameworks in the past. One of the frameworks that Roadmunk is built around is the RICE Model.

This tried and tested prioritization framework from Intercom is an all-time favorite of PMs everywhere. Today, we’ll briefly show you how you can leverage the RICE Model to build a prioritized product roadmap. Let’s jump into it!

Quick Refresh on the RICE Model

First, let’s take a moment for a quick RICE 101. RICE is an acronym that’s abbreviated from the four factors the model is built on. This includes reach, impact, confidence, and effort.

Let’s take a deeper look at each of these factors in the table below.

We know that a lot of product decisions are made based on gut feelings. There’s definitely a time and place for product sense in your workflow. However, savvy PMs balance the qualitative with the quantitative. As you can see, the RICE model is great at turning those gut feelings into a set of SMART goals. Using this model effectively can help your team remove unseen biases and quantify your confidence level.

If the idea of doing a bit of math, though, worries you– fret not! Remember when we said Roadmunk was built for RICE? We can help automate your calculations so you can get to making decision quickly.

Get started today with a template!

This is a simple breakdown of what the RICE Model can look like in practice. But of course, if your team needs it, RICE can be as detailed as you need it to be. For a more in-depth refresher, take a look at our full RICE guide here.

Now, let’s switch gears slightly and take a look at how RICE can help you build out a roadmap.

Using RICE to Prioritize your Product Roadmap

Auditing your backlog and managing all the ideas and feedback you received should always be an ongoing process. How often you filter all that through RICE, though, should be set at a cadence that meets the needs of your team. For example, the teams at Intercom like to go through the RICE process almost every quarter. Find what works best for you!

Why PMs like the team Intercom love RICE is because it turns their otherwise menacing backlog into an organized queue of actions. The models tells them how to structure their roadmaps and why certain pieces are placed where they are.

A RICE-informed product roadmap will tell you what to build, when you should build it, and why you’re even building it in the first place. These pieces are especially critical when you’re looking to build stakeholder confidence and gain buy-in on your roadmaps.

Once you’ve filtered your backlog through the four factors of reach, impact, confidence, and effort, you can start to build a prioritized product roadmap. You might even find that your roadmap builds itself following this exercise.

However, you don’t necessarily want to take your RICE rankings as gospel. Consider the two following questions for your model before committing to a roadmap:

  1. Which idea were you expecting to rank high but ended up ranking low?
  2. Which idea ranked higher than you were expecting?

The ideas you identify through those questions will help you tweak your scoring model before plugging them into a roadmap.

After you’ve gone through a few iterations of this, you’re ready to build out your roadmap. Remember to consult with your sales, CS, and engineering teams throughout this process. A great roadmap is not built in a silo. Although you may be leading your organization’s roadmapping efforts, you’ll need the collaboration of everyone to stay ahead of the game.