ICE Scoring – What does Ease mean?
February 22, 2019
February 22, 2019
The ICE Scoring model is a simple way for product managers to calculate the value of a feature in their backlog by taking into account three main factors: Impact X Confidence X Ease where each factor is scored in a 1 through 10 scale to come up with a total ICE Score. While the scoring model is set to include those three, how each organization or product team accounts for each factor can vary.
Ease as a scoring factor within the ICE Model for example can range depending on the organization that is reviewing the model. What is easy for an enterprise level organization can be much different than what is easy for a startup as it relates to definitions because the overall situation with employees and finances would range drastically.
One of the first thing any team adopting the ICE model needs to do is agree upon each of the main factors and how you will decide to score a feature using the 1 through 10 scale where 10 would rate as very easy and 1 would rate a feature as very difficult. For example in many development organizations, ease is simply tied to the amount of development hours that it would take to implement the change. Here is a simple sample of what that would look like for your ICE Scoring:
Development Hours Based ICE Scoring for Ease
- Less than 4 hours: 10 score
- Less than 8 hours: 8 or 9 score
- Less than 3 days: 7 or 6 score
- Less than 5 days: 5 score
- Less than 2 weeks: 4 or 3 score
- Less than 1 month: 2 score
- Greater than 1 month: 1 score
Again, this assumes a few things. First that development hours is your biggest driver to what makes a change easy. Allowing things like costs not to play a role in the scoring. Also, as you can see from the duration assigned, this assumes you typically do smaller sprints where you would call out quick changes as those being less than 4 hours. If you typically do larger sprints that are longer in duration then the timelines should be extended accordingly.
ICE Scoring is a great tool for product managers to quickly rank their backlog to level the playing field where you can have feature requests from all areas of your organization and customer base and need a way to see which of them really make the most impact for your organization. ICE Scoring gives you the way to do that however you would need to plan out how you plan to use the scoring and agree as an organization for each factor, what justifies a score to ensure there is complete buy in on the final weight assigned.