How to Prioritize Features in SaaS

How to Prioritize Features in SaaS

As a project manager in a SaaS company, it is essential to know which features should come first. While it may seem a simple task, it comes with a set of challenges, especially when building a rich-in-feature SaaS product.

There are many parties playing a big role in suggesting and requesting specific features. For instance, customers have their preferred features, and other stakeholders, including executives and sales teams, among others, have their own feature preferences. This makes it a challenging task for project managers to decide which features are of great essence. However, this guide covers all the useful insights you need to know about feature prioritization in SaaS.

What is Feature Prioritization?

Feature prioritization is the order through which the development team integrates and releases features for a product. It is a key step in project management as it helps the development team balance between business objectives, customer needs, and technical feasibility. Project managers only focus on the valuable features that will satisfy user wants while meeting business objectives.

Importance of Feature prioritization in SaaS

Apart from enhancing the success of the product and streamlining the entire development process, feature prioritization for SaaS offers a wide range of benefits, including the following:

  • Resource optimization

By prioritizing features in SaaS, it becomes easy for project managers to allocate time to the tasks effectively and use the company’s resources where appropriate. This ensures maximum use of resources by focusing on essential features that will lead to the success of the entire project. In the end, no wastage of resources while, the final SaaS product is of high quality.

  • Creates a central focus

Apart from daily tasks, a SaaS development company has its objectives and goals to achieve. With feature prioritization, a company can strategize its daily activities to meet the SaaS product requirements and use the feature prioritization for future use, ensuring the company aligns its long-term objectives with feature prioritization.

  • Promotes user & customer satisfaction

In product and software development, customer satisfaction is key. By meeting the customer preferences and standards, it will become easy for the product penetration in the market.

Feature prioritization is one strategy that helps the development teams identify and integrate the most requested features first. By putting themselves in the customer’s shoes through feature prioritization, the development team will seamlessly create a SaaS product with a great user experience, thus simplifying the work for support and sales teams.

  • Enhances collaborative leadership

When prioritizing features for a SaaS product, top leaders must share diverse concepts while considering the company’s goals and make a viable decision that will not only favor customer needs but the company at large, too.

What’s more, collaborative leadership promotes sharing ideas from experts in the industry, thus creating a reliable and professional communication ground that opens a room for innovative and advanced ideas.

  • Enhances Adaptability

Feature prioritization is a continuous process that allows the teams to adapt swiftly to the changing market trends and product requirements.

In SaaS product development, flexibility is a key aspect as it allows the teams to beat the competitive market while staying relevant throughout.

  • Promotes Faster Iteration & Release of New Features

With feature prioritization, the teams can iterate and release new features seamlessly and faster. As a result, the company can respond to user feedback faster and continuously. This approach enhances the product’s features and functionalities.

  • Competitive advantage

SaaS product development is a competitive niche. Many SaaS product development companies are on the move to produce and release high-quality products with excellent features and impressive functionalities.

As a SaaS product development company, you can prioritize features and deliver what the customers want to ensure the customers are satisfied in the end.

Besides, creating a SaaS product with features that exceed customer expectations creates a solid and loyal customer relationship with the company.

In the end, you not only produce a product that will penetrate smoothly in the market, but also grow and enhance your brand identity.

  • Making valuable decisions

Of course, the project managers must perform extensive research before prioritizing features for a SaaS product. Through extensive research, the team will develop a product that aligns with business goals plus customer requirements.

The time and resources spent during the research process aren’t a one-time solution. It’s an investment in the company’s future projects. That is why every decision is key to growing the brand’s name.

Therefore, as a SaaS product development company, research and data collection are key aspects to ensure the viability of feature prioritization not only to the customers but to the business at large.

  • Improves Decision Making

Through feature prioritization, the teams don’t need to simply guess as they move. They have all the features they should integrate first, hence giving them an easy time to decide on the SaaS product development processes, technologies, & resources to use and any other SaaS best practices they have to consider.

Methods used in prioritizing Features in SaaS

Methods used in prioritizing Features in SaaS

There are three strategic frameworks through which project managers can use to prioritize features specifically in SaaS development.

Note: A prioritization framework is a tried and tested model that follows a specific condition to help the development team prioritize features according to relevance and viability to the business at large.

Below is a detailed description of each feature prioritization framework:

RICE Framework

Developed by Intercom, RICE is a data-driven approach that helps in mobile/web consumer product optimization. The key aspects of RICE frameworks include the following:

  • Reach – represents the total number of customers who want specific features
  • Impact – represents the value-specific features offered to the customers
  • Confidence – represents the ability and certainty of the SaaS development team to deliver the features
  • Effort – represents the time invested, financial, and other resources required to actualize the process.

As you can see, the binding principle of this framework forms the RICE acronym and is a simplified model that helps in ranking projects according to important features. Below is a detailed description of each RICE principle and how to use it.

  • Reach

For any proposed feature, reach helps in assessing the number of customers who will want and benefit from a specific feature and functionality. Reach is weighted through user research, product analytics, and customer surveys to determine the average user base of the features.

  • Impact

The purpose of impact is to weigh the viability of the proposed feature to users and how they use it. Will the feature enhance a higher conversion rate? Will it generate more traffic from social sites? Will the feature create better user engagement? These are some of the top questions to consider when determining the viability of the proposed features.

  • Confidence

Confidence helps determine if the teams will work on the proposed features and deliver them promptly. Resource availability, understanding of the SaaS tech stack requirements, and technical complexity are some of the factors that determine confidence in the RICE framework.

  • Effort

Building a SaaS product successfully is a technical process that requires resources for designing, building, testing, and releasing features. If the processes are complex, there must be more development and QA time, which means the effort score will be higher. On the other hand, simple and quick tasks will mean low effort is required.

In a nutshell, RICE mode is an effective way of prioritizing features in SaaS using the guidelines above.

On a scale of 1 – 5 or 1 – 10, the teams can determine a clear and viable way of comparing features for specific projects. When the RICE score is higher, it shows the viability of integrating specific features in a SaaS product.

Advantages of the RICE framework:

  • Helps product managers make viable decisions
  • Eliminates personal and biased decisions
  • Gives room for product managers to defend their concept to top executives

The main disadvantage of the RICE framework is that it is time-consuming and complex, especially when collecting data.

PRISM Framework

Another qualitative framework that helps project managers prioritize features in SaaS product development is PRISM. Developed by Asif Shaikh, PRISM prioritizes features for SaaS products under the following guidelines:

Potential value – weighs the viability of the features from the business perspective

Risks – Represents the likelihood of issues arising from the selected features.

Incremental effort – represents all the efforts and resources required to include the selected features.

Strategic alignment – represents other company’s tasks according to their priorities.

With these principles in place, project managers can weigh the viability of the features from different angles, ensuring they make decisions that will enable the SaaS development team to actualize the project without exploiting a lot of resources yet gaining business value. Below is a detailed explanation of each principle.

  • Potential Value

In PRISM, the potential value determines the viability of the features to customers and financial returns for the business. Will there be any financial gain once the selected features are delivered? What about revenue generation? Will the costs be reduced? Will the features promote customer retention? These are among the questions to consider when evaluating potential value under the PRISM framework.

  • Risks

The risks principle plays a big role in evaluating the possibility of risks and pitfalls of the selected features. Risks can include user adoption fears or uncertainty of future changes. Such elements can cause investing more resources in features that won’t attract and retain users or fail to scale with the changing tech trends and patterns. This could cost the business a big deal. Above all, failing to analyze and address such risks can lead to poor planning and, hence, unsuccessful project delivery.

  • Incremental Effort

The incremental principle weighs the required budget resources and team size for designing, testing, and launching the features and their respective functionalities. Of course, huge and complex projects will require more effort compared to basic projects.

  • Strategic Alignment

Strategic alignment is all about aligning the feature ideas with the company’s priorities. This is to ensure all the other activities of the company remain in place even with the introduction of new features.

Ideally, if the proposed or suggested features interrupt one or more activities within the company significantly, it becomes of less priority until the other objectives are achieved. Here, the company’s top leaders play a big role in eliminating features of less priority.

Again, just like the RICE framework, PRISM is evaluating the viability of the features to determine the ones to prioritize based on their scores. The principles of factors described above guide project managers and development teams on the crucial features at a specific time.

ICE Framework

Finally, we have the ICE framework method for prioritizing features in SaaS. Developed by Prioritize Product Management for SaaS features from Intercom for web/mobile apps, ICE works under the following guidelines:

Impact – represents the impact the selected features have on the business and to the customers

Confidence – represents the capacity of the development team to integrate and deliver the features seamlessly.

Ease – represents how hard or how easy it is to implement the features.

Just like RICE, the ICE framework works in a similar manner only that ICE focuses more on striking a balance between value and efforts in SaaS products. Below is a detailed description of each ICE guideline:

  • Impact

Impact, in ICE, weighs the overall business value the company will get once the suggested features are implemented successfully. The factors stretch beyond customer retention, expansion, and conversion. Features with a great impact create a significant value compared to features with lower impact.

  • Confidence

Just like RICE, confidence in ICE weighs the capability of the teams to deliver elected features within a set budget. Of course, the functionality should be smooth once the features are released.

When the confidence scale is higher, it shows the possibility of including the features seamlessly and overcoming any challenges along the way.

  • Ease

Ease in ICE weighs the resources, time, and efforts required to actualize the process of adding the selected features and ensuring they perform seamlessly.

The ICE scoring model, just like RICE, uses a scale of 1 up to 5 or 1 up to 10 when rating ease, confidence, and impact, allowing product managers to determine the most vital features to integrate into the SaaS product development.

Note: ICE is the best method to use for prioritizing SaaS features when you need rapid growth from the beginning.

Advantages of the ICE method:

  • It is simple and fast
  • Promotes better ROI using minimum resources

The disadvantage when using ICE is that the score can be manipulated, hence a possibility of wrong interpretation.


In SaaS product development, prioritizing features plays a big role in pushing the success of the project. However, the task can be challenging, especially without proper planning and guidelines. Product managers often have a hard time determining the features to include and features to eliminate, especially when different uses have different preferences.

Using RICE, PRISM, and ICE framework methods when prioritizing features in SaaS product development is the most practical solution. These methods enable product managers and the teams involved to conduct research and come up with data-driven decisions that will not only enhance the success of the product but also enable the business to grow from different angles.

Any queries about SaaS development? Get in touch with our top-rated SaaS development company : Aalpha information systems!


Written by:

Stuti Dhruv

Stuti Dhruv is a Senior Consultant at Aalpha Information Systems, specializing in pre-sales and advising clients on the latest technology trends. With years of experience in the IT industry, she helps businesses harness the power of technology for growth and success.

Stuti Dhruv is a Senior Consultant at Aalpha Information Systems, specializing in pre-sales and advising clients on the latest technology trends. With years of experience in the IT industry, she helps businesses harness the power of technology for growth and success.