Meet the RICE matrix and learn how to prioritize your team’s projects – WAU
Prioritizing your team’s projects is not always an easy task. There are many variables that can make it difficult to make a clear decision, do you agree? The RICE matrix is a way to organize these variables and facilitate the prioritization of projects. Continue reading and learn more!
Have you ever felt so full of tasks that you didn’t know where to start? If the answer is yes, do you remember where it started? Was it the easiest or the most challenging?
This may be a trivial situation, but these are decisions that constantly need to be made by those who hold management positions within a company.
Knowing how to prioritize the projects your team is involved in – and making the whole team understand your reasons – is a hallmark of a good manager. The question that remains is: how can this be achieved?
To answer, we prepared this post. In it, you will get to know the RICE matrix and understand the benefits it can bring to your business. In addition, we’ll give you some crucial tips to get you started with your implementation. Enjoy reading!
What is the RICE matrix?
In any type of work involving project management, knowing how to prioritize the order of execution is essential for optimizing productivity. However, such heavy decisions cannot be made without a technical basis, or they risk being affected by external agents, such as the manager’s personal interests and opinions.
We are not saying that the manager’s opinion is disposable, but that care must be taken so that it does not hinder the efficiency of the decision.
It is no coincidence that, before deciding on things that will impact the company’s future, those responsible use some type of methodology, such as SWOT analysis or PESTEL. After all, it is easy to imagine situations in which the excitement for a new idea may overshadow the option for a safer investment, simply because of human nature.
In order to make project prioritization more analytical and less intuitive, the RICE matrix was created. Its name is an acronym for the 4 elements used to rank projects by priority. Are they:
- reach (range);
- impact (impact);
- çonfidence (trust);
- andffort (effort).
Next, we will understand more deeply what each of the 4 elements that make up the RICE matrix mean.
In free translation into London, it means reach. The first meter in the RICE matrix seeks to estimate how many people will be reached by the project in a given period of time, which should be the same for all compared projects.
For example, let’s imagine that getting the project going will bring 500 new newsletter subscriptions per month. In this case, the determined range is 500 / month. If another project results in 1000 new subscriptions, its scope is naturally greater.
Impact is the English word for impact. ANDThis criterion seeks to estimate the impact that will be felt by an individual. For example, in a Digital Marketing project that evaluates the purchase of ads on Google Adwords, the question to ask may be: how much will this ad help convert a lead who comes across it?
Measuring and quantifying the impact is a difficult task and there is no completely scientific method. So, you can use the following scale:
- 3 = very large impact;
- 2 = large impact;
- 1 = medium impact;
- 0.5 = small impact;
- 0.25 = minimal impact.
Confidence means trust. This is a very important factor in identifying projects that are driven more by enthusiasm than by analytical thinking.
If you think the impact of a project is going to be big, but you don’t have the data to support that thought, your confidence level can’t be that high.
In the RICE matrix, confidence is measured by percentage. To do this, the person in charge needs to be honest with himself and answer the following question: “How sure are you of the accuracy of your estimates?” To put the concept in numbers, we use the following table:
- high confidence = 100%;
- average confidence = 80%;
- low confidence = 50%.
Anything below 50% should not be trusted enough to be considered.
This is the English translation of the word “effort”. Here, we seek an estimate of the total time required of each member of your team to carry out the project.
The unit of effort used in the RICE matrix is “person-month”. In other words, it is the work that a team member can do in a month. Unlike the other items, the greater the effort, the worse it is for the project.
So, a project that takes a month of combined team efforts, is worth a person-month. Another that requires 3 months is worth 3 person-months, and so on.
We separated here some more content on task prioritization and management methodologies, check it out!
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GUT Matrix: know what it is, what it is for and how to assemble your
Understand how to better distribute responsibilities with the RACI Matrix
BASICO Matrix: learn how to prioritize projects in your company!
How to apply the RICE matrix in your company’s daily life?
Once all factors are estimated, it is time to combine them to arrive at a single value. For this, the following formula is used:
(Reach x Impact x Confidence) / Effort
In other words, you multiply the values determined in the first 3 items and divide them by the necessary effort. The end result is the RICE value.
To implement the RICE matrix in your company, all sectors need to be able to act in an integrated way. From there, it is up to the manager to make everyone understand the importance and the need to use the matrix. This way, it is easier to collect the information that will serve as a basis for the calculation to be made.
In addition, it is possible to simplify the calculation with the development of a simple spreadsheet. This way, the process gets faster and faster and its results more efficient. At the end of the process, it is essential to repeat the assessments. This helps to ensure that no number is too far from reality.
What benefits can be achieved?
There are several reasons for using the RICE matrix, but the most important is certainly the possibility to work with clear and well-resolved priorities. Thus, there is no room for questioning or flaws in judgment that may affect the company’s productivity.
Furthermore, who has never found themselves in a situation where they have to choose between two options, but both seem equally good? By using a prioritization matrix like RICE, you can get that question out of your head and let the tool “decide” for you.
Finally, the matrix is a great resource to assist in making important decisions, but it should not always be taken literally.
Sometimes, for internal or external reasons, a company may choose to work on projects with a lower level of priority first. The important thing is that, with the ranking, it is possible to have a full notion of the option that is being chosen.
Project management is not an exact science. More than matrices and calculations, it is necessary to understand the company’s objectives and be able to visualize the role of each project on the way to achieve the goals. However, using the RICE matrix is a way of having some kind of scientific basis to corroborate the decisions made.
So, did you understand what the RICE matrix is and how it can be implemented? Would you like to know more about useful tools for organizing your business? How about taking a look at this OKR’s ebook? Come on!