Once again I ran into a question where a project came to a problem where it was needed to prioritize scenarios. In this particular instance, it was made a little more difficult since there were two different teams with two different target audiences to compare and prioritize.

One option is to go after who shouts the loudest or who has most stamina to endure the negotiations. Both tactics have major trade-offs, however, and thus it was time to evoke old tricks. Here comes RICE framework.

There’s plenty to read about RICE, but it provides a framework that evaluates various things based on REACH, IMPACT, CONFIDENCE THAT IT WILL WORK and ENGINEERING COST. The team essentially grades each of these areas so that they can tally up the points of the first three, divide that by the engineering costs in man-months and press a button in Excel to arrange the features in descending order, essentially stack ranking them. Formula is rather simple:

Score = (R * I * C) / E

In practice, we also had to add a HIPPO MULTIPLIER column that takes the total score and multiplies that with a suitable number. This allows arbitrarily lift exception cases in the rankings if needed. Such needs comes when you have a boss who could fire you all if he doesn’t get his way. Also, given that evaluating man-months can be hard to evaluate when dealing with new things, with many teams and when short of time for the evaluation, we essentially replaced that with a score where high effort gave the lowest score and low effort the highest.

Score = HIPPO * ( R + I + C + E )

C’est La Vie. Not perfect, but it has helped. Especially in aligning people. To read more on how this is done more properly, here are a few links: