ICE [Impact, Confidence, Ease of implementation] Prioritization

The Ice Scoring Prioritization Framework is a powerful and quick tool for prioritizing your ideas and projects. Start now with a free customizable template!

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What is the ICE Score Prioritization Framework

• ICE stands for Impact, Confidence, Ease
• It is used to evaluate projects, features, marketing initiatives
• It is used for achieving rapid growth with limited resources

Impact

Impact ranks your tickets by the influence they have on the overall product promotion or a single objective. It's better to identify what exactly you want your team's efforts to impact and stick to the Impact definition through all the tickets. You shouldn't evaluate Job A as impacting the Activation, and Job B - Retention. Such prioritization will scatter your team's efforts, moving the desirable results far away.

Answers the question: How impactful is this solution to our objective?

Originally measured: Number range from 1 to 10.

Confidence

Confidence score is used to support or skepticize the Impact and Ease estimates. This criterion helps to control the emotionality and subjectiveness of the prioritization. We all tend to assign bigger scores to ideas we want to be developed. High Confidence scores mean you have enough data to prove your estimates.

Answers the question: How sure am I in my Impact and Ease scores? How sure am I this works as expected?

Originally measured: Number range from 1 to 10.

Ease

Ease ranks the tickets by the cheapness of the implementation. Unlike most other frameworks that usually estimate the negativity of efforts, ICE looks at the same idea from the other side. As such, the easier and simpler the job is, the higher scores it receives.

Answers the question: How easy is this solution to develop and launch? How fast can we get the results?

Originally measured: Number range from 1 to 10.

How to calculate

  • Add up Impact, Confidence, Ease
  • Divide the sum by 3

Drawbacks and Cures

In 100% of cases, ICE is criticized for its subjectiveness—the priorities can be easily manipulated by such scoring, and different people will score criteria differently.

First, any framework can be manipulated if needed. There is nothing special about ICE. The question is, why even starting the prioritization if you still want to make the world revolve around your humble opinion?

Second, the story about different people estimating all the tickets differently can be turned into a powerful weapon if you let them all evaluate the initiatives how they think is appropriate.
According to multiple studies, the average guess of a group of people is astonishingly accurate. So just aggregate their scores and calculate the average.
This may sound difficult, but it is super simple with automation tools. Ducalis, for example, will do everything for you. You don't even need to video chat with your teammates. Open the browser tab, put the scores, pet the cat while your colleagues do the same. After all the scores are assigned, open the Top Priorities—your astonishingly accurate ticket ranking is ready.

What we do consider as a drawback are the numbers you actually use for estimation. The range from 1 to 10 is too precise. How on Earth can you decide if the initiative will impact the objective by 6 or by 7?
Such estimation will take you too much time on redundant doubts, and the ticket rankings will never become solid and systematic.
For this, we've changed 1-10 range for the Fibonacci sequence. It is much easier to decide if it's a 5 or 8 impact.

Another point is both a pro and a con. ICE score framework is super simple. It allows you to start prioritization immediately. The estimation itself will be fast, and you will have the list of quick wins in no time.
ICE is perfect when you need rapid growth at the start. But in the long run, it is oversimplified and may make things worse for complex products.

Don't hesitate to start with ICE. Just customize it over time by adding your unique criteria to consider multiple key factors.

Who and What is the ICE Feature Prioritization Template for

This template is great for teams that need to prioritize product features, user stories, or hypotheses. It considers both the value a feature will give and the efforts it will take, which is beneficial to the ROI.

⚖️ Pros and Cons

✅️️ Fast prioritization: few criteria, relative numbers, same scales.

✅️ Focuses on increasing the ROI with limited human resources.

❌ Subjective estimation. Scores may be manipulated.

ICE for Feature Prioritization Template Set Up

The Ducalis template is fully customizable. You can change it for your convenience.

Criterion 1

  • Name: Impact
  • Impact: value
  • Weight: 1
  • Scores: 0, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8
  • Description: How much will the feature positively affect the goals? Would this feature help us reach a strategic objective?

Criterion 2

  • Name: Confidence
  • Impact: value
  • Weight: 1
  • Scores: 0, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8
  • Description: How much data do we have to prove the Impact and Effort scores? How sure am I in my estimates?

Criterion 3

  • Name: Effort
  • Impact: effort
  • Weight: -1
  • Scores: 0, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8
  • Description: How difficult is this feature to develop, test, and launch? How long will it take to get the results?
ice score criteria setting up in ducalis.io
You can add new criteria, edit current criteria settings, assign them for specific people to evaluate, or delete them completely.
Read more on how to add, edit, or delete evaluation criteria.

How are the Evaluation Results Displayed

The evaluation results are available in two views: Top Priorities and Matrix. They calculate priorities differently and have different features for decision-making. You can easily switch between the view tabs—they are always available inside any board.

Top Priorities

The Top Priorities page calculates weighted decisions and displays them in a list. The main factor is the weight setting of the criterion as it determines its influence: how positive or how negative. All scores are multiplied by the weight.

The calculation formula in this template is Value and Effort Sum:

(Impact Score * 1) + (Confidence Score * 1) + (Effort Score * -1) = ICE Total Score
Evaluated features on Ducalis.io Top Priorities page with the ICE total score breakdown.
Evaluated features on Ducalis.io Top Priorities page with the ICE total score breakdown.
Read more about Top Priorities features.
Read more about formulas and how to change them.

Matrix

The Matrix page calculates non-weighted decisions and displays them in a 2x2 matrix. The main factor is the impact setting of the criterion as it determines its axis: value or effort. The scores are not multiplied by the weight.

On the Matrix page, Impact Confidence and Effort work as filters. Toggle the criteria to count or discount when distributing tasks among the quadrants: Quick Wins, Major Projects, Fill-Ins, Thankless Tasks. You can rename the quadrants at your convenience.

Evaluated features on Ducalis.io Matrix page distributed among quadrants of a priority matrix.
Evaluated features on Ducalis.io Matrix page distributed among quadrants of a priority matrix.
Read more about Matrix features.

ICE for Marketing Prioritization

Marketing activities prioritization is based on the objective impact and team efforts. You can also works for evaluate marketing initiatives, projects, and ideas.

📊 Evaluation Criteria

Impact
  • How big is the potential gain from the initiative in terms of promotion objectives?
  • Estimated with Fibonacci sequence 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13
  • Best estimated by marketers
Confidence
  • How much data do we have to prove the Impact and Ease scores? How sure am I in my estimates?
  • Estimated with Fibonacci sequence 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13
  • Best estimated by marketers and teammates participating in the project (e.g., designers, writers)
Ease
  • How easy is this initiative to implement? How fast can we get the results?
  • Estimated with Fibonacci sequence 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13
  • Best estimated by marketers and teammates participating in the project (e.g., designers, writers)

ICE score into your task tracker (Jira, Asana, Trello, ClickUp, etc.)

You can use a Ducalis.io evaluation board by creating new tasks in it or uploading a spreadsheet.

You can also connect your team’s task tracker like Jira, Asana, Trello, ClickUp, YouTrack and many others to get awesome benefits.

Task Tracker ➞ Ducalis.io Sync

Connect your task tracker for the automatic sync. Set up the filter once, and tasks inside Ducalis.io will always mirror your actual backlog.

asana backlog sync filter with ducalis.io for prioritization
Example of Ducalis.io task filter setting for Asana backlog

Ducalis.io ➞ Task Tracker Sync

If you connect your backlog to sync tasks with Ducalis.io, you can also sync Ducalis.io priorities back. Evaluate tasks and send their ranking to the task tracker to sort the backlog by priority, and for the whole team to see what’s important.

asana priority rank with ducalis.io
Example of Ducalis.io priority ranking sync with Asana

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