Prioritization Frameworks Guide

In this article, we quickly mention some of the popular frameworks, explain when to use them, and their pros and cons.

Early Stage

These frameworks are great for startups and products in the early stages of development. They are suitable for features, ideas, hypotheses, marketing activities, and jobs prioritization as a whole.

1) AARRR

  • Acquisition—How will this solution increase the number of people we attract to the website/app?
  • Activation—How will this solution increase the number of people who start using?
  • Retention—Will this solution increase the number of people who regularly use the product?
  • Referral—Will this solution increase the number of people eager to tell others about the product?
  • Revenue—Will this solution increase the number of people who pay for product usage?

No fixed scores and formula. You can use the Fibonacci sequence and the average sum.

Pros:

  • Considers all essential stages of user behavior
  • Weight changes allow you to move focus fast

Cons:

  • Doesn’t consider costs and efforts
Read a full article: AARRR Framework for Backlog Prioritization: How to use it for smart focus, quick wins and team alignment

2) RICE

  • Reach—How many people will this feature affect within a defined time period?
  • Impact—How much will this feature impact the objective when a customer encounters it?
  • Confidence—How confident are you in your reach and impact estimates?
  • Effort—How much time will the feature require from the whole team: product, design, and engineering?

Reach * Impact * Confidence / Effort

Pros:

  • A simple framework for a start;
  • Allows to focus on a single objective;
  • Considers efforts;

Cons:

  • Doesn’t consider multiple aspects of the product;
  • Vague criteria, you may interpret differently from task to task;
Read a full article: RICE Score: It’s No Good and You Use It Wrong

3) ICE

  • Impact—How impactful this initiative or key feature will be.
  • Confidence—Conviction warranting the feature build out.
  • Ease—Work required for the feature delivery.

No fixed formula. You can use the average sum.

Pros:

  • Quick and simple;
  • Allows to focus on a single objective;
  • Considers efforts;

Cons:

  • Doesn’t consider multiple aspects of the product;
  • Vague criteria, you may interpret differently from task to task;
  • Scoring from 1 to 10 is too precise, challenging to estimate adequately; (we use the Fibonacci sequence in our template)

Product Prioritization Frameworks

1) WSJF

WSJF is a compound framework used for prioritizing development features, initiatives, and epics.

  • User-Business Value—What is the value to the customer or business? What is the revenue impact on our business? Are there negative impacts if we delay?
  • Time Criticality—Does the value decay over time? Is there a fixed deadline? Will users wait for the solution?
  • Risk Reduction—Does it reduce future delivery risks?
  • Opportunity Enablement—Will this feature enable new business opportunities?
  • Job Size—How long will the implementation take? Are there dependencies that can make it more time-consuming?

User-Business Value + Time Criticality + Risk Reduction + Opportunity Enablement / Job Size

Pros:

  • Considers both business values and development risks and efforts.

Cons:

  • Prioritization takes more time, as it’s not easy to calculate the estimates.

2) DHM

DHM is a model to focus on brand development and long term company vision.

  • Delighter—How will it delight customers?
  • Hard-to-Copy—Will it make the product hard to copy for competitors?
  • Margin-enhancer—Will it increase business profits?

No fixed scores and formula. You can use the Fibonacci sequence and the average sum.

Pros:

  • Changing weights allows you to focus on what’s important for the strategy now.

Cons:

  • Doesn’t consider costs and efforts.

3) Feature Buckets

Feature Buckets is a model for sorting features and ideas by their impact.

  • Metric Mover—Improves the product key metric
  • Customer Requests—Requested by customers
  • Delights—Based on insights in design. Customers would love it
  • Strategic—Important for business values and goals

No fixed scores and formula. You can use the Fibonacci sequence and the average sum.

Pros:

  • Changing weights allows you to focus on the features of a certain type.

Cons:

  • Doesn’t consider costs and efforts.
How to quickly change weights in Ducalis and how it influences the top priorities

4) HEART

HEART is a framework for prioritizing UX improvement ideas.

  • Happiness—How do users feel about your product?
  • Engagement—How often a user interacts with a product or service because of the feature?
  • Adoption—How many people complete the onboarding process and become regular users?
  • Retention—What percentage of users are returning to the product because of the feature?
  • Task Success—Can users achieve their goals or task quickly and easily?

Pros:

  • High focus on user satisfaction.

Cons:

  • Doesn’t consider costs and efforts.

Marketing Prioritization Frameworks

1) REAN

REAN is a framework for prioritizing marketing activities

  • Reach—Will this task help us attract more relevant traffic to the website?
  • Engage—Will this task help us encourage visitors to interact with the website?
  • Activate—Will this task increase the number of conversions?
  • Nurture—Will this task help us encourage customers to return to the website?

Pros:

  • Consider the main stages of the user journey.

Cons:

  • Doesn’t consider costs and efforts.
Read a full article: REAN or RACE: what’s the difference and how to use them for marketing activities prioritization

2) Content Ideas Prioritization

This is a unique method of prioritizing content ideas, developed by Ducalis team.

  • Competence—Do we have enough experience, materials, and data to create quality content?
  • Time—How much time will it take?
  • Search Volume—Estimated Search Volume.
  • Difficulty—Average keyword difficulty.
  • Frequency—How often do customers mention the topic?

Pros:

  • Allows you to choose content with the highest traffic opportunity.

Cons:

  • Requires well described ideas with prior keyword research.
Read a full article: How to prioritize blog content ideas

PRO Tips

Here are some tips and tricks to improve and complete your own prioritization system.

1) Efforts and Costs

Most of the frameworks mentioned above have a drawback of not considering efforts and costs. This is easy and critical to fix. Prioritization makes little sense when it takes into account only values. Any job requires investments like time or money or both. Add criteria with negative weights to any framework missing them.

There's a template with Efforts criteria in Ducalis library to fix the problem even faster

2) North Star Metric

The North Star Metric is the fundamental measure of success for the product team in a company. To find your North Star Metric, you must understand the core value you bring and try to convey it as a single metric. Famous examples of unique metrics are Airbnb "Nights booked" and Facebook "Daily Active Users."

If you know your company's North Star Metric, add it to your prioritization criteria. It will stimulate your teammates to think about how the next brilliant idea helps your company enhance its customers' core value a lot more. Lead the initiatives through a question: 

  • Does this feature help us grow "the special metric"?

After a few cycles of evaluation, you'll see how much the ideas are misleading to your North Star Metric.

Quickly add a custom criterion in Ducalis to the framework you've chosen

3) OKRs

To use your OKRs for prioritization, you can develop a set of questions that the issues should go through.

Let's assume that one of your team's objectives is to increase the number of link clicks by 60%. To achieve it, you will probably need to increase the amount of website traffic in general, so, when considering some new features, you might ask yourself a question: Will this help me to increase traffic? And your other objective is to lower the cost per conversion by 20%, and when considering marketing tools, you might ask yourself questions like: Is this tool/service expensive? Is this tool/service efficient?

For these reasons, you may come up with such criteria:

  • Traffic—Does this bring a lot of users to the website?
  • Cost—Does it cost a lot?
  • Conversion—Does it help to convert visitors into buyers?
  • Time—Will it take a lot of time to complete the task?

4) Team Alignment

Regardless of the prioritization framework, the most important is to evaluate the criteria by the whole team. This will help you build a solid shared understanding. Thus you all will try to understand the product from every angle and the impact of everything you develop. Evaluate asynchronously and then check how scattered your scores are. Is it that the criterion isn't clear? Or the task is poorly stated? Or some important data was missed? Or someone simply has a unique point of view that may change the whole team's perception?

The scores for Activation for this task are too different—the team should discuss the task impact on Activation

Try Ducalis:

  • Big prioritization framework library
  • Flexible criteria set up
  • Team alignment reports
  • Team reminders and notifications
  • Issue import from a tracker or a spreadsheet
  • Issue creation and task tracking
  • Collaborative evaluation
And much more for teams who care to build shared understanding for impactful results.
  1. Early Stages
  2. AARRR
  3. RICE
  4. ICE
  5. Product Prioritization Frameworks
  6. WSJF
  7. DHM
  8. Feature Buckets
  9. HEART
  10. Marketing Prioritization Frameworks
  11. REAN
  12. Content Ideas
  13. PRO Tips
  14. Efforts and Costs
  15. North Star Metric
  16. OKRs
  17. Team Alignment
  18. Ducalis

Start prioritizing today

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