The DICE framework enables businesses to predict the future, and success chances for change initiatives. Unfortunately, many change projects fail, not because the change is not justified or needed, but because the project is not set up or monitored correctly. Every change project requires a myriad of aspects to come together in the right way for each organisation. A measured approach by project sponsors and executives to have the right leaders and project management teams in place is required to ensure those affected by the change have what they need to make it happen, avoid resistance and see the project initiative through.
The history of DICE
Three current or former partners originally developed the DICE equation at The Boston Consulting Group. The DICE framework was initially published in 2005 in a Harvard Business Review article and more recently in HBR’s “Lead Change – Successfully”. It also featured in the ten change management must-read publications and awarded its patent in 2014.
So what exactly does DICE do and how can it assist businesses to navigate the change management process? Quite simply, it is a framework that scores the project on four key areas. The overall score calculated according to the DICE formula is a predictor of the likelihood a project will be executed in a way that sees its successful adoption.
Fully accepting that no single formula guarantees success and no consensus on the different solutions to ensure success, the DICE formula has successfully broken down the four key areas and allocated a score to each. Research has repeatedly proved that assessment under these criteria, achieving scores within definable bands, accurately predicts projects more likely to succeed and helps identify those doomed from the outset. While it is not there to micromanage your change projects, it is a valuable part to assist businesses when the need for change is identified to ensure that they reach the desired outcome. With over 70% of change projects failing to achieve a successful conclusion, the DICE framework is a valuable assistance tool when writing a change plan.
The Four Key Areas
Duration – The long-held belief that the longer a project needs for implementation the more significant the risks associated. This is not the case as long as frequent assessments and corrective actions are taken to reset the course if needed.
Integrity – A crucial factor requiring skilled leaders. When picking teams for change programs, the leaders must be able to take critical decisions, resolve conflicts and successfully manage difficult odds and times of change. In addition, they must have exceptional communication and people management skills.
Commitment – Commitment to the project, from top managers and leaders to communicate the reason for the change and its purpose right down to the employees performing day-to-day routine work. When the change path is difficult, it will be the workforce’s commitment that has the most significant impact on its success.
Effort – How much work is involved in implementing the change and after for those affected? Many employees are busy and expecting them to adapt and take on excessive levels of extra work will lead to problems. The limit is likely to be around ten per cent; keep the extra work under this level and employees with experience, skills and motivation will adapt. However, more than this could lead to the failure of the entire project.
DICE – Calculate For Success
Four key factors are graded from 1-4. One being the best and four the worst. Scoring a project will allow business leaders to identify and make corrections to the course of change if required and ensure reviews are scheduled regularly and appropriately to the length of the change initiative to keep it on track.
Duration – How often are reviews of the change initiative carried out?
Review in – 1 month = 1
2 months = 2
3 months = 3
4 months = 4
Integrity – Does the change leader and team possess the required skills, experience and motivation?
Skills possessed – 80% or more = 1
60% – 79% = 2
40% – 59% = 3
20% – 39% = 4
Commitment (C1) – Are the Senior Level management effectively communicating to the team on the purpose of the change and is this convincing?
Clarity level – Excellent = 1
Good = 2
Ordinary = 3
Poor = 4
Commitment (C2) – Are employees give feedback opportunities and are they supportive to the change leaders?
Team relations Excellent = 1
Good = 2
Ordinary = 3
Poor = 4
Effort – How much extra work is to be performed by the employees?
Extra workload Below 10% = 1
11-20% = 2
21-30% = 3
31-40% = 4
Dice Score calculation = D + (2xI) + (2xC1) + C2 + E = DICE value
Using the above calculation will give you a score between 7 and 28. The score achieved is a good indicator for the likelihood of your plans coming to fruition, allowing the opportunity to make changes at the outset, before the path of no return and failure.
7-13 = project is likely to achieve success.
14-17 = project is in the dangerous middle ground.
18-28 = score is in the woe zone and project scores over 21 will most likely fail.
Playing the numbers game
The DICE framework uses hard factors to measure the likelihood of success. These factors can be easily influenced and communicated using scientific evidence of observed vital areas that have previously derailed projects not managed effectively. Whilst it does not account for soft factors, these are equally important. Employees charged with leading change must be equipped with the right skills and understanding to do so. Leaders require both exceptional soft and hard skills to bring about successful change, so you may consider AgilePM project management training courses for key personnel to ensure your project teams have the skills required.
The DICE framework assesses the viability of a project, leaving businesses to define the correct strategies and solutions for its execution and put the right people in charge of leading the change.