The RICE framework provides a consistent, rigorous way to evaluate community program and activity ideas. It is a way to prioritize your community building efforts for impact.
Results from community programs are often mixed and unpredictable. Many things get started, most fizzle out, and few move the needle.
This can happen if you don't have an effective way to evaluate the best ideas to move forward with. Thankfully, the RICE framework gives you a scoring system to consider key factors about an idea. Popular in the product management space, it can help you compare ideas against their ability to deliver results.
You need to start with a clear understanding of the outcomes you're driving towards. The V2C framework can help. Then prioritize activities most likely to deliver those outcomes by following these three steps:
Brainstorm a big list of ideas, big and small. Whole programs and individual activities. If some are already working, then include improvements for those, too.
For each activity, you need to consider...
How many people will be affected by this activity in a given period?
Where possible, use analytics or historic figures to guide your estimate.
✅ Example: Run one masterclass event per month, each getting 50 attendees. Reach = 50.
✨ Tip: You need to keep the timeframe the same between ideas, so you can compare them fairly.
The value the activity will create for members and the business.
It's tricky to measure so use your best judgement and pick from a scale: huge=3, high=2, medium=1, low=0.5, minimal=0.25.
✅ Example: A masterclass provides actionable advice for members and activates new users but quality varies between speakers. Impact = 1.
✨ Tip: It's better to be conservative when scoring. Consider past experiences of similar ideas.
A percentage of how confident you are in your Reach and Impact scores.
Again, we use a scale here: high confidence=100% (1.0), fairly confident=80% (0.8), low confidence=50% (0.5), moonshot=25% (0.25)
✅ Example: With attendance and survey data from past events, we have high confidence in the outcome of a masterclass. Confidence = 1.0
How much work will it take to make this idea a reality?
Here you estimate the total number of days work this idea will need from you and other team members.
✅ Example: For a masterclass, we have to source and manage speakers, create design assets, and promote and staff the event. It’s approx. 2 days of work. Effort = 2.
✨ Tip: Estimating work is notoriously difficult. Don't stress it too much, just go with your gut... and prior experience.
Then calculate its RICE score:
Pick a quarterly theme or program
Unlike product management, you're dealing with people, not features. A theme or an overarching program (like a Champions program) enables you to batch together related ideas. That way you're not rolling out a seemingly random set of activities. Plus, if an individual activity fails, there's still compounding value overall.
Run each idea as an experiment
When it comes to execution, you want to run each one as an experiment. That means:
1️⃣ Define a hypothesis: what you expect to happen. Document what constitutes a win. Define a measure of success, the more specific the better. If you're dealing with small numbers, consider qualitative data, too - the anecdotes or responses you're hoping for.
2️⃣ Set a timeframe: after which you're going to evaluate success. Check back on your hypothesis - did it confirm it or not? Reflect on why that was either way.
3️⃣ Assess the outcomes: Decide whether that activity is working for you or not. Drop what doesn't work and double down on those that do.
Over time you'll get better at estimating impact and testing hypotheses. Along the way, you'll gather data and insights, which will help you create better programs and more consistent results in the future.