Project managers sometimes pay more attention to factors as leadership, communication, employee motivation, rather than factors like effort, project duration, employee and manager commitment, and integrity. Change management is not an easy task, but with the right tools, everyone can achieve the desired goals.
DICE is an acronym for the terms duration, integrity, commitment and effort. Not surprisingly, a management consulting firm once decided to create this framework to assist project managers in implementing change. The DICE framework was invented not so long ago, in only mid-1990s, and is still used by many project managers.
As I said above, change management is hard and like John Kotter, a famous author and change management guru said in his book, Leading Change, 70% of change fails.
This is rather depressing, right? Could we assume that we are longing for a change, but we hardly ever achieve it? Well, it depends on various factors. For example, there may be people who resist change, others may not be as enthusiastic towards making the change as you are, or your team may lack enough commitment, or they may not know how to make changes happen. In most cases, changes fail because project managers concentrate on factors like employee motivation rather than employee commitment and effort, or they concentrate more on leadership rather than project duration. Let us now throw a closer look at the four factors that influence change.
A project cannot last for a whole lifetime; it should have a beginning and an end. Hence, you can measure:
- The duration of the whole project
- The duration of various shorter projects within a bigger one
- The frequency of project reviews
Don’t worry about longer projects. Sometimes, organizations believe that longer projects are more apt to fail. However, the trick is in the frequent reviews. The more frequently you review a project, the more chances you will have to succeed. For example, a complex project may require a monthly review, while a lighter one a bimonthly review. Your reviews should encompass the discussion of major achievements and/or challenges your team had, rather than on everyday tasks and difficulties. Also, make sure you do not consider one task only. Often, to reach a milestone, a team needs to perform a dozen of different tasks. Hence, concentrate on the milestone, rather than on separate tasks.
This stands for your project team’s performance integrity. Your team should possess the ability to complete projects on time. Besides, certain projects may require certain skillsets; hence, your team should be integral enough to display those skillsets. Team leaders should possess the following skills:
- The ability to make decisions
- The ability to resolve problems and conflicts
- The ability to organize stuff and set proper priorities
- Emotional intelligence
- Communicative competence
Let us indicate your senior manager as C1 and your employees as C2. Both these groups are responsible for change. Hence, you need commitment on the part of both sides.
Usual workload is not always enough to achieve awesomeness. Make sure your employees display effort in addition to their existing work responsibilities. You can motivate your employees towards the change by eliminating some of their regular work responsibilities.
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
By using the aforementioned equation, you may have a DICE score between 7 and 28. Here is how to see which scores are the best ones:
- If you get 7-14, then your project is a success
- If you get 14-17, then you are under the risk of failure
- If you get 17 and more, be careful, as you are too near to losing the game
Never let a project reach 14-15, if you measure your DICE score and get these results, consider remodeling and altering your project immediately.
Of course, DICE framework contains some bits of subjectivity; but you can use it in different ways that may be quite beneficial to you. For example, you can use a DICE framework to:
- Compare two successive projects and see which one was more effective?
- Ensure that top management evaluates the ongoing project more frequently
- Encourage honest conversations between employees
- Track the progress of the change
- Help you pay proper attention to those projects that seem to underperform
- Achieve both organizational and operational changes
- Achieve an improved behavior towards work both on the part of senior managers and employees
With the DICE framework, you will be able to worry about the right things. For example, by using DICE, a change leader and a common employee will see that usual workload may not be enough for change. Also, a senior leader will see that a project needs equal amount of commitment both from him/her and an employee.
Where to start?
- Assess each DICE element before launching a project to make the necessary adjustments (for example, find professionals with the required skill-set and motivation)
- Use DICE only AFTER launching a project to be able to identify the project’s weaknesses and drawbacks
- Consider ALL four DICE factors equally important
- Be as objective when grading the four factors as possible
- Do your best to win
When using a DICE framework for your change management initiative, make sure you are not afraid of change itself. Re-model your project after each formal review. This will help you identify risks earlier and prevent them from transforming into drawbacks. Have you ever used a DICE framework? Where else would you advise to use it? If you have the answers to these questions, then feel free to comment below.