DICE Framework (BCG)

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Figuring out whether change projects will fly or die. Explanation of the DICE Framework of the Boston Consulting Group. ('94, '05)


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BCG Framework DICE Factors

What is the DICE Framework? Description

The DICE Framework is a tool of the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) that can be used to calculate how well a company is implementing its change initiatives, or how well it will be able to implement its change initiatives. Can we expect certain initiatives to be successful or are they doomed to failure from their inception? According to an article by Harold L. Sirkin, Perry Keenan and Alan Jackson from BCG in the Harvard Business Review of October 2005, soft factors that influence the success of a change program include: vision, leadership, organizational culture, employee motivation, top-down or participatory approach. But there are also a number of hard factors, which are not always receiving the attention that they deserve. These hard DICE Factors are:

  • D: Duration. For short project: its total length. For long projects: the time between formal reviews of milestones.
  • I: Integrity. The project team's ability to successfully complete the change project on time.
  • C: Commitment.
    • C1: Backing from the most influential executives (often, but not necessarily top management).
    • C2: (Lack of) support from employees who are being influenced by the change.
  • E: Effort. How much work does the change initiative require above the regular workload of employees.

The DICE framework builds a continuum:

  • At one extreme there are short projects which are led by a skilled, motivated, and cohesive team. They are championed by top management. And implemented in a department that is receptive for the change and has to put in very little additional effort. Such projects are very likely to succeed.
  • At the other extreme there are long, comprehensive projects that are executed by a non-expert, unenthusiastic, and disjoined team. Without any top-level sponsors and aimed at a function that does not like the change and has to spend a lot of extra work. Such projects will normally not succeed.

Origin of the DICE Framework. History

The DICE Framework is based on a 1992-1994 research project by BCG that analyzed 225 companies. The framework has been used at over 1100 companies since then, confirming that these factors are (the only) correlated to predict the outcome of change projects.


Calculation of the DICE Framework. Formula

By using a set of simple questions, each factor must be given a score from 1 (very favorable) to 4 (highly unlikely to contribute to success). Next, the DICE score is calculated, applying the following formula: DICE Score = D + (2 x I) + (2 x C1) +C2 + E.

7 is the best possible score. 28 the worst. Projects between 7 to 14 are in the "Win Zone" and are very likely to succeed. Projects between 14 and 17 in the "Worry Zone" are risky. Projects with scores over 17 are in the "Woe Zone" and are very risky.

Usage of the DICE Framework. Applications

  • Track the score of a project over time.
  • Compare the score of a project with the scores of previous projects.
  • Compare the score of a project before and after making changes to the structure of a project.
  • Manage a portfolio of projects. Determine which ones should receive the most attention and resources.
  • Provide a common language to discuss change.
  • Enforce conversation / communication.

Strengths of the DICE Framework. Benefits

  • Hard factors such as the DICE Factors can be measured, communicated and influenced.
  • Simplicity. Enables communication.
  • Consistency. Standard way of determining project feasibility.
  • Using a framework helps managers to evaluate projects consciously.

Limitations of the DICE Framework. Disadvantages

  • Determining the scores is a subjective process.
  • Simplicity. The method does not deal with the soft change factors, although they are important.

Assumptions of the DICE Framework. Conditions

  • Organizations should pay attention to 4 hard change factors before considering soft change elements when considering or evaluating a change initiative.

DICE Framework Forum
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Compare with the DICE Framework: Change Equation  |  Force Field Analysis  |  Stage-Gate Cooper  |  Changing Organization Cultures  |  Appreciative Inquiry  |  Positive Deviance  |  RACI  |  Change Iceberg  |  Change Phases  |  Dimensions of Change  |  Balanced Scorecard

Return to Management Hub: Change & Organization  |  Communication & Skills  |  Decision-making & Valuation  |  Program & Project Management

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