The Hard Side of Change: Implementing DICE Framework

Dave Tang
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Dave Tang

David Tang is the founder of Flevy.com, the marketplace for premium business documents (business frameworks, presentation templates, financial models, etc.).By "premium," we mean our documents are of the same caliber as those produced by top-tier management consulting firms, like McKinsey, Bain, Accenture, BCG, and Deloitte.These documents are authored by senior executives and consultants who have more than 20 years of experience.

Prior to Flevy, David worked as a management consultant for 8 years. Domestic and international (EMEA and APAC) project experience. Has worked with clients across industries of Media & Entertainment, Telecommunications, Consumer Products, High-Tech, and Life Sciences.
Dave Tang
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Digital Transformation means changing the entire enterprise. We should take the advantage of new opportunities and deal with the changes – both from the perspective of an organization and the individual.

Change management is not an easy task, but with the right tools, everyone can achieve the desired goals.

When discussing change management:

Most change professionals focus on the “soft” factors that influence the success of a change program. These include elements like vision, leadership, culture, employee motivation, top-down vs. participatory approach, etc.

But, what about the “hard” factors?

Hard factors are just as important, but often not considered by many change management experts. The DICE Hard Change Factors is a framework that addresses this. DICE is used to calculate how well a company is implementing or how well it will be able to implement its change initiatives by evaluating 4 “hard” change factors.

DICE framework was developed by the Boston Consulting Group, a management consulting firm, in the mid-1990s in an effort to develop a more effective approach to change management. This framework was originally published in the Harvard Business Review (HBR) article “The Hard Side of Change“. Today DICE has been used at over 1,000+ companies since its inception, confirming that these factors are the only ones correlated to predict the outcome of Change initiatives. In 2014 it was awarded a patent.

 

The 4 DICE factors are:

  • (D)uration:
    For short project, Duration is its total length. For long projects, Duration is the time between formal reviews of milestones.
  • (I)ntegrity (i.e. Team Performance Integrity):
    This is the project team’s ability to successfully complete the change project on time.
  • (C)ommitment. These are 2 components to Commitment:
    C1 (Senior Management): Often there is backing from the most influential executives, but not necessarily top management.
    C2 (Local): Lack of support from employees who are being influenced by the change.
  • (E)ffort. This refers to how much work does the Change initiative require above the regular workload of employee (i.e. business as usual state).

 

Change Project Continuum

Let’s imagine the universe of Change Projects to be placed on a continuum, where on one end, the situation looks very favorable:

  • These are short projects that are led by a skilled, motivated, and cohesive team.
  • They are championed by top management.
  • The project is being implemented in a department that is highly receptive for the change and also has to put in minimal additional effort.  >> These projects are very likely to be successful.

On the other end of the continuum, we have projects with less than favorable situations:

  • These are long, comprehensive projects that are executed by a non-expert, unenthusiastic, and disjoined teams.
  • They also lack any top-level sponsors.
  • The project is aimed at a function that does not like the change and has to spend a lot of extra work to adopt the change.  >> These projects are likely to fail.

In the real world, most Change projects lie somewhere in the middle of this continuum, where the likelihood to success of failure is difficult to assess. It is these situations where we apply the DICE factors, as these factors have empirically shown to have a high correlation to the projects’ outcomes.

 

How Do I Use It? The DICE Formula

To calculate whether your change is going to be a success or not, you need to use an equation where all four factors are included. Each factor is graded either as 1,2,3, or 4. 1 is the best score and 4 is the worst, accordingly. For example, if you put 1 in front of ”duration” (D), it will mean your team is doing excellent regarding reaching the deadlines and achieving milestones.

DICE Score = D + (2xI) + (2xC1) + C2 + E

Based on the calculated DICE score, we can determine the project’s likelihood of success:

  • Score of 7-14: Projects are very likely succeed.
  • Score of 14-17: These are risky projects, where it’s difficult to predict success.
  • Score of 17-28: These are very risky projects. It’s unlikely for these projects to success.

 

How likely your project will be a success?

 


For more frameworks on Change Management, take a look at Flevy’s Change Management business toolkit here.

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