How to fast track estimate using RICE

I was recently on a call and I was asked how I estimate work. Of course, there is a rigorous process behind estimates I will go into in another post but the question I was asked wasn’t “What is the process for estimation?” As PM its important to have a ballpark idea when questions about growth, features or fixes come in. I’ve found RICE to be a useful way to start my process asking questions and shoring up an easimate.

I find it has many applications and is a quick mental model to generate questions, ideas and get a sense of whats involved. Here is an example; I have been told that sales on my network have slowed due to a compeditor having better speeds. What will I do?

Firstly, what is the delta? In this case it was only 2mb but physics plays a part here because.. well its complicated but just assume 2mb will make a material difference. The job is to improve speeds and I’m told sales will improve.

I estimate (given I understand the market, segments and demographics) this could reach 1.1m customers who are in-situ at this province. I estimate there is a medium impact (P&L and CX) through new-subs, improved experience for current and new customers and we can address some #notspots we have got some flack about in the media. My confidence is also medium. I’ve been here before and I havent seen the indoor coverage I’d like to see. Our compeditor has much better frequencies so I’ll need to drill into this more later. Also, improving the speed/coverage is one thing but we’ll need a marketing campaign for awareness and I’m not sure how that will work.

Finally what is the effort. We will need to do this sooner or later, right? I’m going for a low medium here because one national campaign and improving speeds everywhere makes more sense to me. This is also capital intensive so we need to be careful we can measure the ROI. Here are my notes;

This was a very quick exercise that I’ve performed hundreds of times. The result was a high-medium. Next I need to understand the cavets (or the limitations of my own information) to see can I push the score higher -or- is a national campaign a better option so we can have a consolidated marketing approach.

This is just one of the tools I use personally to move my thinking forward. Its not the comprehensive planning that tales place through collaberation but the marker in the ground that points me in the right direction so I can ask questions, take questions and come to a reccomendation.

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