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The “Hard” Side of Change

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.  Developed by BCG,  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 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.

6sided_diceThe 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.

The DICE Formula

The DICE methodology itself is actually a formula, defined below in the image.  We score each factor from 1-4 (with 1 being the best, very favorable) and then calculate the DICE score.


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.
Are you a management consultant?  You can download this and hundreds of other consulting frameworks and consulting training guides from the FlevyPro library.

Interested in gaining more understanding on how to apply the DICE framework?  You can learn more and download an editable PowerPoint about DICE Hard Change Factors here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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

About David Tang

David Tang is an entrepreneur and management consultant. His current focus is Flevy, the marketplace for premium business documents (e.g. business frameworks, presentation templates, financial models). Prior to Flevy, David worked as a management consultant for 8 years. His consulting experience spans corporate strategy, marketing, operations, change management, and IT; both domestic and international (EMEA + APAC). Industries served include Media & Entertainment, Telecommunications, Consumer Products/Retail, High-Tech, Life Sciences, and Business Services. You can connect with David here on LinkedIn.

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