July 4, 2022 Casino, Results



Stephen Crystal of SCCG Management walks us through different approaches to change management, weighing the value of each in regard to running a casino.

In the casino industry, project management is relied upon to deliver something of value to the organization. Everything from deploying sports wagering or iGaming products to improving WiFi infrastructure for guests to access the internet requires professional project management resources to manage schedule, budget and resources to deliver what is expected.

However, the change management discipline should be added to the effort whenever the project’s deliverable, is new to the organization, changes how many job classes in the company do their jobs, or how customers engage with your organization.

The real value of change management is that the discipline focuses on how the project the - if successfully implemented - creates change in the organization. This is especially important when management and leadership do not intuitively understand these changes and are not surfaced on traditional project management tracking tools.

For example, imagine a casino operator deploying a standalone iGaming platform with free-to-play content. This seems exceptionally straightforward, as there are no apparent workflows that move between the current operation and the new hosted social casino. The project manager and third-party provider efficiently and quickly deploy the branded social gaming platform and roll it out to their customers, on time and within the budget. Success!

Immediately, management and leadership start getting uncomfortable feedback from the operations teams. The players club, hosts and other employees on the customer front line are inundated with questions like:

  • How do I download the new app?
  • I don’t think I was given the right number of free play coins this week - can you check?
  • Can you tell me why my password doesn’t work anymore, because it worked yesterday?
  • I don’t understand why I can’t use my comp dollars to buy more free play coins. Is that a thing?

Internally, marketing now owns two sets of customer data, one from the casino management system and another from the free-to-play system. It looks like there’s a lot of overlap between the two, but there’s not a 100% clear way to tell if these accounts map to an individual player.

These scenarios can cascade on and on. Depending on the level of automation your organization has, attempting to manage these new, fantastic capabilities with existing management tools, break down and fails.

This is the difference between project management and change management. Project management is the genie that grants your wish. Changemanagement is the friend next to you, explaining why your wish will come back to haunt you -- unless you choose your words more wisely.

Let’s look at four approaches to change management, and why you might want to rely on one over another.

Lewin’s Change Management

The Lewin’s Change Management model is a framework for organizational change. It involves three distinct phases: the development, the refreezing and the implementation. When implemented properly, Lewin’s model becomes highly effective. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of Lewin’s change management model.

The first stage of Lewin’s change management model is “unfreezing.” This involves convincing management of the need for a change. To make this easier, you should use empirical proof or other means to convince management. Once the management team accepts the change, the next step is to implement it company wide. Employees should be given incentives to make the change stick. This will motivate them to make the change. This stage is the most challenging.

The second phase, “refreezing,” is crucial for effective implementation. In this stage, people must be convinced that the change is a good one. People need closure, and they need to feel that they will be successful. Change management requires the organization to adjust its organizational structure to accommodate the changes. Lewin’s change management model has many applications and can be used to manage change effectively in a variety of settings. There are some specific scenarios where Lewin’s change management model may prove most effective.

Ultimately, Lewin’s change management model helps managers make the right decisions by analyzing the culture, strengthsand landmines in the organization.

This model is helpful for organizations that have cultures that resist change, or have been burned by bad decisions in the past.

ITIL framework

The ITIL framework for change management was initially intended to give IT support providers a more hands-on role in a business’s overall structure. As such, the IT change management process aims to ensure that changes are implemented as smoothly as possible while minimizing any negative impact on the business. The framework is divided into various methods that can be used for different types of changes. Some key areas of concern include workforce management, IT service management, change and project planning, and change monitoring and evaluation.

The first step in implementing changes is planning. The process includes conducting tests and assessing the effects of changes. Depending on the type of changes, a remediation method may be necessary if something goes wrong. Another example is the absence of key performance indicators. Without these, the changes may be delayed or not meet their intended goals. However, the ITIL framework for change management has numerous other benefits. As well as the focus on change assessment and testing, the framework focuses on governance and service workflows, especially services managed by customer service support staff using systems that help them solve customer problems. ITIL is also dependent on heavy communication between operations and key stakeholders, which can be a burden, and honest and open communication, which can be difficult.

This model is helpful for any size organization with significant investments in IT infrastructure, information workflow automation and system integrations.

Prosci Methodology

The Prosci Methodology for change management is an agile methodology that blends elements of individual and organizational change management. It also has heavy involvement with end users affected by the change.

Prosci provides a roadmap to successful change management and helps organizations make the right business decisions by determining the overall structure of change projects. It identifies goals, aligns strategy, and tracks results. It also includes a change management framework called the ProsciChange Triangle, which identifies three pillars of successful change: goals, process, and people. Using the Change Triangle, Prosci can help organizations define the reasons for a change and ensure that it meets its goals.

This is especially helpful for change management initiatives that affect large numbers of internal and external customers. It has also been widely and effectively used – especially  for projects that require agile change management.

DICE framework

DICE is an acronym for “deploy, improve, sustain.” Among its many benefits, it can help organizations ensure that change is sustainable and meets business goals.

DICE scores measure the likelihood that a project will succeed or fail. A positive score indicates a “WIN ZONE” opportunity, while a negative score means a “WORRY ZONE.”

Using the DICE framework, leaders can predict project outcomes and allocateresources strategically, maximizing the overall program or portfolio of initiatives. While itmay sound complicated and overwhelming, it’s a powerful tool for implementing change programs and strategic initiatives. It can help you track each initiative’s status and avoid making mistakes that won’t lead to success. The DICE framework makes it easier for change managers to focus on the right things and minimize unnecessary stress. 

This discipline is best suited for large organizations trying to deliver lasting change across all company silos. It has a “we will get there” philosophy that does NOT focus on minimizing change, the specific benefits of the change, or how long it will take to get there.

The Bottom Line

All of these disciplines:

  • Integrate with and create additional tasks to the project plan.
  • Involve change agents not typically involved in project implementations.
  • Add work to operations teams responsible for running the current state business.
  • Require the total commitment of the executive team - frequently with the chief executive as the project’s champion.

At the forefront of the process, leadership needs to look at its available level of involvement and commitment and the resilience of its organization to change.If either or both of these factors are limited, we recommend that you defer these changes until they improve.

If you don’t have a real choice and have to implement change because of exigent circumstances, such as regulatory or market forces, be vigilant and ready to kill the project quickly if there are early signs of risk.

Stopping a project is not failure. You can always start again after different solutions have been identified, project and change management have been restaffed, or organizational bomb-throwers havebeen removed.

We have two final pieces of advice for you:

  • Get help from people with real-worldexperience in the kind of transformation you are making.
  • Get your entire leadership team in line behind you, giving you full-throated support for the change process.

Remember: In 1519, Hernan Cortez and his experienced crew destroyed his ships upon arriving in the New World.
His men knew, not by easy words but through visceral action, that turning back was not an option.

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