In Scrum, prioritizing the Backlog is an essential step that guides the order in which tasks and User Stories are executed. This prioritization makes it easier to select the tasks that offer the most value to the product and its stakeholders.
Among the various prioritization techniques available, the RICE(Reach, Impact, Confidence, Effort) method stands out as a particularly effective tool.
Prioritizing the Product Backlog is a decisive step in managing a Scrum project. It guides the team in choosing which tasks to perform first, based on their potential value. This prioritization enables resources to be allocated efficiently, promotes greater stakeholder satisfaction and contributes to the rapid achievement of project objectives.
The RICE method: An effective prioritization technique
The RICE method offers a structured approach to evaluating and comparing backlog tasks. It takes into account four key criteria: Reach, Impact, Confidence and Effort.
Reach represents the number of users or stakeholders who will be affected by the task to be prioritized.
Impact assesses the potential effect of a task on these users or stakeholders. It measures the extent to which a task can improve the experience for each person involved.
Confidence measures your certainty regarding Reach and Impact estimates. Solid, accurate data will increase your level of confidence.
Effort estimates the total work required to complete a task. It is usually measured in days or Story Points.
RICE score calculation
Once each Backlog task has been evaluated according to these criteria, you can calculate the RICE score using the following formula:
Score RICE = (Reach * Impact * Confidence) / Effort
This RICE score provides a numerical figure that can be used to compare Backlog tasks and determine their order of priority. So the higher the RICE score, the higher the priority of the backlog item.
While this score isn’t perfect, it does give a quantitative perspective which, combined with your expertise and knowledge of your project’s context, makes decision-making much easier.
Thanks to the RICE method, Scrum teams can refine their decision-making process, strengthen communication and transparency around priorities, and ultimately maximize the value delivered to their users. Bear in mind that the RICE method is a tool, not an absolute rule. It should be used to complement your experience and understanding of the project.
Discover other agile prioritization methods
We’ve made available other articles about effective backlog prioritization methods. Below is a non-exhaustive list of these alternative prioritization techniques:
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