Assessing DICE: Duration of Change

  • What is it?

    The “D” in DICE is the time it will take to complete a project, or the interval between its major “learning milestones” if a project lasts 6 months or longer.

    • A “learning milestone” is a formal assessment of the project strengths, weaknesses and progress against key performance measures
    • The output of the review should be clear action steps to address any deficiencies, which will then be assessed at the next learning milestone
  • Why is it important?

    The longer a change initiative takes, or the greater the time between formal progress checks, the more likely it is to go off-track. The chance for the impetus to get lost, windows to close, objective to be forgotten, key supporters/performers to leave or lose enthusiasm, problems to accumulate and amplify or uncontrollable “king hits” become more probable

  • How do I improve "Duration"?

    To improve the D score, reduce the time between key review milestones without compromising the overall on-time delivery of the project. A high score is not necessarily caused by the length of the overall time frame for the project, but may instead be related to the structure of the milestones. Do the milestones occur regularly? Do they permit a meaningful review of tangible progress? Do they allow key stakeholders to be engaged fully at appropriate times during planning and delivery of the project? Do the milestones clearly describe major actions or achievements rather than lower-level activities?

    If milestones occur infrequently, can the project be “staged” so that the time between milestones is reduced, thus enabling more regular reviews of progress? Is it possible to divert additional resources to accelerate the progress of the project

Assessing DICE: Team Performance Integrity

  • What is it?

    The “I” in DICE is the performance integrity of the project team. This encompasses both the overall skills and traits of the team, and how it is has been configured.

  • Why is it important?

    Change projects are usually complex, requiring management a broad nexus of activities, resources, pressures, external stimuli, unforeseen obstacles etc. The ability of the team, both individually and as a collective, to perform each component task and to ensure that the sum of the parts equals a successful whole is obviously integral to the outcome. If the team is not set up for success, it is likely the project will not be.

  • How do I improve "Integrity"?

    To improve the I score, establish a team that possesses sufficient technical skills, demonstrates strong commitment to achieving a clear set of objectives, and, most importantly, is led by a capable team leader. Has the team been selected through a formal appointment process? Are the objectives realistic and clear to all team members? Are the objectives appropriately ambitious? Do team members have sufficient time to focus properly on the project? Is the team leader dedicating sufficient time to managing both the process and the content of the team’s deliverables?

    Remember that high-performing teams typically encourage internal debate and, at times, have a healthy level of self-criticism. A “happy” team does not necessarily mean an effective team!

Assessing DICE: Commitment to Change

  • What is it?

    The “C” in DICE is the commitment to change shown by the senior management (C1) and the people actually undergoing the change (C2). In the former instance, it is mainly to do with the visibility of the commitment; in the latter, it is about the willingness of those affected by change to embrace it and make it work.

  • Why is it important?

    If the leadership is not seen to have confidence in and actively support an initiative, then the lower tiers of an organization are much less likely to believe in its value or its likelihood of success. In other words, commitment at the top is vital (although not always sufficient) to engender commitment from those “at the coalface”; the one inspires the other. In turn, the local area’s commitment is essential to implementation; it is clearly more difficult to make change happen if those who must work with it are opposed to it.

  • How do I improve "Commitment"?

    There are two separate components:

    To improve the commitment of senior management (C1):

    To improve the C1 score, increase senior management’s demonstrated commitment to both the overall program and specific projects. Experience shows that senior managers often overestimate the organization’s perception of their own true commitment to the change effort. The Program Manager and the Project Team Leaders must establish and, as appropriate, revisit the contextual importance of demonstrated support from senior management.

    From a practical standpoint, not all projects require the same level of demonstrated commitment from senior management. Greater demonstrated commitment is required for projects which have, for various structural reasons, higher and less attractive scores on other components of DICE. Has this challenge been highlighted, either directly to senior management or to the Program Manager? What actions can Senior Management take to demonstrate significant commitment to the delivery of the project?

    To improve the commitment of people in the local area (C2):

    To improve the C2 score, enhance communication with, and the understanding of, local staff. This goal is best achieved by taking coordinated action on several fronts. Is there an opportunity to conduct a more effective communication program – specifically, one that deploys two-way and face-to-face communication? Are the key stakeholders actively involved in the planning and delivery phases of the project – either as team members or as discussion partners?

    Do opportunities exist for demonstrating commitment and progress by implementing some “quick wins” in the business? Are there more opportunities to leverage existing communication channels more effectively, for example, making regular presentations at the “weekly supervisor meeting”? If the intended change is going to pose a particular challenge or threaten local staff, have the detailed “whys, whats, and hows” been discussed clearly with them – on several occasions?

Assessing DICE: Additional Local Effort Required

  • What is it?

    The “E” in DICE is the additional local effort above normal working requirements that is required during implementation. It relates to the effort of those undergoing the change (same as C2), as opposed to the project team leading the change program (the I of DICE)

  • Why is it important?

    The greater the additional effort required, the more likely it is that the change initiative will experience difficulties

    • Resources can become unacceptably stretched, compromising the implementation of the change program and/or normal operations
    • Morale and local culture can be damaged
    • Conflict with local management can arise
  • How do I improve "Effort"?

    To improve the E score, reduce the amount of effort that local staff must dedicate to supporting existing business requirements while also participating in the transitioning phase of project implementation. If the total combined workload – including the incremental implementation work – cannot be easily sustained, are there opportunities either to stop or to suspend some non-core activities? For example, can additional discretionary activity or part-time project work be suspended during project delivery?

    Have all the other projects and/or discretionary activities associated with this area of the business been appropriately prioritized? Could any business-as-usual activities be handed off to others or deferred? Are transition resources available to fill the gap? If the answers to these questions are clearly “yes”, and the percentage increase in effort required is near the threshold of two categories, then the higher score should be given.