The DIE Prioritization Framework

What should you work on next?

Is it something fun and exciting? Or something boring and unsexy?

It’s tempting to go for the former. But the fun things aren’t always the “right” thing to build.

Every product needs some boring features and some standard functionality. And as a PM, you need to figure out how to balance the fun stuff with the less fun stuff.

So how do you do that?

Enter the DIE Prioritization Framework

Prioritization frameworks like DIE can help us overcome our tendency to do just the fun stuff. They help us implement a structured and methodical way to approach the question of “what should we build next?”.

DIE was created by the company Baremetrics and is an excellent method for other small software companies who want to get started with prioritization.

How to Use DIE

Step One: Create your list

The first step is to create a list of all of the things we want to score. These are the things like feature requests, bug fixes, improvements that we want to make. Once you have that, it’s time to move onto the scoring phase.

Step Two: Score your list

The first step is to score each item on that list against three different criteria — demand, impact, and effort. Let’s cover each of the criteria and how to score them.


Demand asks the question of "how many people need this?"

It’s scored on a scale of high, medium, low.

If something is highly in demand and a lot of people want it, you give it one point. Medium demand gets two points. Low demand gets one point.

  • High demand = 1 point
  • Medium demand = 2 points
  • Low demand = 3 points

Easy, right?


Impact equally easy. Impact asks the question of "how much is this going to move the needle?"

  • High impact = 1 point
  • Medium impact = 2 points
  • Low low impact = 3 points


Finally, we have effort. This is gauging how much work is this going to take to complete. Instead of an H(1)/M(2)/L(3) scale, we’ll use a t-shirt scale for effort.

  • Very low effort = 1 point
  • Low effort = 2 points
  • Medium effort = 3 points
  • Large effort = 4 points
  • Very large effort = 5 points
  • Massive effort = 6 points

1’s are things like tiny bug fixes while 6’s are things that are practically a redesign/rewrite, or brand-new and complicated functionality.

Step Three: Calculate the DIE Score

Calculating the final DIE score for each item is easy. Add them all up!

Demand score + Impact score + Effort score = DIE score

The lowest score wins with DIE.

Where to do DIE prioritization

You can do DIE prioritization in a spreadsheet, or you can do it in Speckled. In Speckled, you’ll be able to reuse the impact and effort scores for other prioritization frameworks like RICE, and be able to try out some other frameworks and build your own.

Try a bunch of methods to find which one works for you

DIE is just one method of prioritization. There are a bunch out there, so play around with a couple and figure out which one is the right prioritization method for your company or your product.