DICE Change Management Model and a Free Risk Calculator

Article by Ken Thompson, 08 Oct 2020

The DICE Model Introduced

An important article, The Hard Side of Change Management [1] by Hal Sirkin, Perry Keenan and Alan Jackson of the Boston Consulting Group first appeared in the October 2005 edition of Harvard Business Review.

Based on assessments of more than 200 major change initiatives, the authors were able to show that the outcome of change initiatives come down to just 4 basic elements - DICE:

  1. (D)uration of the project
  2. (I)ntegrity of the team
  3. Organizational (C)ommitment to change
  4. Additional (E)ffort required of staff members

The significance of this is that DICE provides you with a simple and well-evidenced technique to enable you to conduct a risk assessment of a proposed change before you start it.

The way it works is that interviews are carried out with executives and leaders of project teams, ideally before they start, and the project DICE score is calculated according to a simple formula with each of the four success indicators being graded on a scale of 1-4 (the lower the score the better).

This score then places a project in one of three zones - a ‘Win Zone’, a ‘Worry Zone’ or a ‘Woe Zone’. This allows the organization to address key issues or cancel projects altogether if the chance of success is too remote.

How to calculate the DICE Score

There are a number of descriptions of DICE online, perhaps unusually the Wikipedia entry [2] seems to be the only one which summarizes the actual calculation, sourced from another paper [3] which expands the components of DICE as follows:

Duration (D) either the total duration of short projects or the time between two milestones on longer projects

Team Performance Integrity (I) the project team's ability to execute successfully, with specific emphasis on the ability of the project leader

Commitment (C) levels of support, composed of two factors:

C1 visible backing from the sponsor and senior executives for the change

C2 support from those who are impacted by the change

Effort (E) how much effort will it require to implement (above and beyond business as usual)

Interpreting the DICE Score

A score between 7 and 14 is in the "Win" Zone (very likely to succeed), while a score between 14 and 17 falls in the "Worry" Zone (hard to predict success), and a score higher than 17 falls in the "Woe" Zone (indicating high unpredictability or likely to not succeed).

Free Online DICE Calculator

We have developed a free on-line DICE Calculator you can use here. It does not require registration, login or any software installation – it runs in your browser. The calculator also explains how to score each of the 5 dimensions of DICE.

References

  1. The Hard Side of Change Management, Hal Sirkin, Perry Keenan and Alan Jackson, Harvard Business Review, 2005.
  2. DICE framework, Wikipedia.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DICE_framework
  3. DICE - How to Beat the Odds in Program Execution, Perry Keenan and Alan Jackson, The Boston Consulting Group, 2005.
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More about Ken Thompson

Ken Thompson

Ken is a practitioner, author and speaker on Leadership, Collaborative Working, High Performing Teams, Change Management, Project Management and Business Acumen. His work has featured in major publications including The Guardian , Wired Magazine, The Huffington Post and The Henry Ford Magazine. Ken has also spoken at many international events including TEDx, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), Learn Tech (London) and NASA.

Ken is Managing Director of Business Simulations Ltd.

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