Prioritization in software product management refers to the process of determining which features and functionalities to include in a particular release.
The product manager has the ultimate authority to decide what goes into the next version of the product. Ideally, the product manager would like to add all desired functionality in each release. However, to fit in all desired functionalities and still provide a stable and reliable product, a large number of resources would be needed.
The need to prioritize is the result of insufficient resources that can prevent completing all tasks required for launch. The problem then becomes which features and functionalities to include to provide the most value for the customer base with available resources without sacrificing product quality or stability.
It is crucial to have prioritization in product management for the following reasons:
Prioritization of product backlog items is key for internal communication within the organization. Without it, teams are not aware of what has to be done first until they all work on their assumptions which might lead them to conflict ideas about the priority of different tasks.
Internal miscommunication can lead to delayed projects and in the worst case to abandoning a product.
Customers need to know what they can expect from the company to be able to plan their activities around it. Prioritization of tasks helps customer success managers plan their activities and also know when certain features will be available to them so that they can share them with their customers.
Marketing needs to have a clear vision about what they are going to market because, without the right strategy, the marketing activities could be ineffective and focus on other things that might not benefit the company in its long-term goal. Without prioritizing tasks, product managers cannot know when something is ready to be released which could affect marketing activities.
Prioritization is the key to successful development activities by product managers because it helps their teams know what needs to be developed first, second, and third depending on its priority level which in turn affects the speed of development towards meeting business goals for the company.
RICE product management has particularly proven helpful because it allowed the company to break down its product backlog into manageable pieces which were easier to prioritize. The key advantages of this model include :
• The model is easy to use and understand, allowing managers to quickly prioritize their work.
• It does a great job of weighing business value against the effort required to complete a task.
• The model allows teams to maintain a bias towards action, prioritizing items that can make an immediate impact on the product life cycle.
• It avoids the need to create a complex mathematical model that only a handful of people on the team can understand.
RICE score refers to the four dimensions of the model.
R is for RELEVANCE: how much impact will this have on our product? It measures how well an item meets a project objective and aligns with its vision. This score should be customer-centric. The higher the score, the more relevant it is to your product or service offering.
I is for IMPACT: how much of a difference will this make on the success of your product? It measures the importance of this item to meet a project objective. The impact score should be measurable. The higher the score, the more important it is to achieve that goal.
C is for COMPLETENESS: how complete or well thought out is this item? It measures whether work items are well defined, documented, and planned for implementation. The higher the score, the better you understand what needs to be done or your plan is more complete.
E is for ESSENTIAL: how important is it to address this issue right now? It measures how essential resolving the issue is to meet your project goal.
In this article, you learned the importance of priority in software product management. Four factors affect priority, which is urgency, impact, completeness, and essentialness. To measure the priority factor of your work items, you should apply the concept to each one of them. We hope this blog has helped you understand the RICE framework better.