The DEAR Group offers the following suite of services:
The DEAR Group prides itself in its Project Leadership expertise. Our Project Leadership professionals each have years of experience managing many different types of projects. From small 1-person endeavors to multi-million dollar programs that encompass dozens of projects, we can handle it.
To many, Project Management is the mechanics of maintaining project plans, issuing reports, etc. To us it’s much more. We prefer to refer to what we do as Project Leadership. While we understand and perform the traditional mechanics, we also strive to build cohesive teams, infuse the project into the organization and provide the benefit realization that the project was intended to produce.
The DEAR Group embraces the principles and methods contained in the Project Management Institute’s Body of Knowledge. However, as stated in our values, we adapt these based upon the client’s culture and the requirements of the project. Not all components are required by all clients on all projects. We modify these, as appropriate, to meet our client’s needs.
As a result of our expertise, many of our clients have asked us to assist them in creating Project Management Offices or Project Support Organizations to provide on-going corporate-wide over site to projects. We welcome the opportunity to work with our clients to establish such organizations.
The following are some of the areas where we can provide guidance and assistance:
- Portfolio Management – Most organizations have a multitude of project requests in their queue. We can assist in helping to prioritizing these so that the right projects, with the proper resources, are undertaken in order to maximize the Return on Investment.
- Planning – Understanding the objectives, establishing realistic project timelines, managing expectations and controlling change all contribute to the project being completed on time and within budget.
- Governance – Establishing the proper guidance and sponsorship is required for a project to succeed.
- Communication and Reporting – Effective reporting to both the project participants and the executive sponsors is crucial to a project’s success. It’s often been cited that the number one reason projects fail is the lack of communication.
- Collaborative tools – Projects are collaborative activities involving many people. In many instances, the use of collaborative tools can greatly improve the project outcome. We can assist in selecting and implementing the appropriate tools that best meet the needs of the project or organization.
- Standards and Procedures – We have assisted many clients in the development and implementation of sound Project Management standards and procedures. This aids in projects having a consistent “look and feel” and improves project outcomes.
- Training – Many of our clients have asked us to help them in training their staff in proper Project Management techniques and methods. We welcome the opportunity to transfer our skills and knowledge to our clients.
- Benefit realization – In this day and age it is no longer sufficient to complete projects on time and within budget. That’s a given. Companies need to know that the project will produce the desired Return on Investment and that the benefits anticipated are in fact realized. We work with our clients to establish metrics and reporting that can demonstrate this.
Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Planning
In today’s real-time world, Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Planning have taken on a heightened level of importance. Companies and their customers depend on systems and functions being available. We have years of experience in Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Planning and can assist in the following areas:
- Business Impact Analysis (BIA) and Risk Assessment - A thorough business impact analysis and risk assessment are the foundation of an effective BCP.
A complete BIA includes identification of the potential impact of uncontrolled, nonspecific events on the institution’s business processes and its customers, consideration of all departments and business functions, not just data processing, and an estimation of maximum allowable downtime and acceptable levels of data, operations and financial losses.
The risk assessment is the second step in developing a BCP. It includes prioritizing of potential business disruptions based upon severity and likelihood of occurrence, a gap analysis comparing the institution’s existing BCP, if any, to what is necessary to achieve recovery time and recovery point objectives, and an analysis of the threat’s based upon the impact on the institution, its customers, and the financial markets, not just the nature of the threat.
- Developing Business Continuity Strategies - Determining and guiding the selection of alternative business recovery operating strategies for recovery of business and information technologies within the recovery time objective, while maintaining the organization’s critical functions.
- Emergency Response and Operations – Developing and implementing processes and procedures for responding to and stabilizing the situation following an incident or event.
- Develop and Implement Business Continuity Processes and Procedures – Design, develop, and implement Business Continuity processes and procedures that provide continuity within the recovery time and recovery point objectives.
- Awareness and Training Programs – Prepare a program to create and maintain corporate awareness and enhance the skills required to develop and implement the Business Continuity Plan and its supporting activities.
- Maintaining and Exercising Business Continuity Plans – The effectiveness of a BCP can only be validated through testing or practical application. We can assist through the entire testing process. From developing a testing strategy, to developing test objectives and test plans, to actually performing the tests and documenting the result. Our years of experience in Quality Assurance and Testing make us a natural for this activity.
- Public Relations and Crisis Communication – Assist in developing, coordinating, evaluating, and exercising plans to communicate with internal stakeholders (employees, corporate management, etc.) external stakeholders (customers, shareholders, vendors, suppliers, etc.) and the media (print, radio, television, Internet, etc.)
- External Audit of Existing Business Continuity Plan – The BCP and any associated test results should be subjected to an independent audit. For some institutions, federal regulations require that BCP be independently audited and verified. Following federal guideline, we can objectively evaluate the completeness and effectiveness of a documented BCP.
In addition to managing projects, The DEAR Group can also assist in staffing them. In many instances our clients do not have the resources to take on projects with their current staff who are dedicated to day-to-day activities. We can help.
As stated in our mission statement, we use only experienced professionals. We’ve found that there is no substitute for experience. Using experienced professionals allows us to provide the most cost effective, value added resources. We can provide qualified professionals from technicians to business analysts, from technical writers to data base administrators and all skills in between.
Quality Assurance has many connotations and takes on many forms. To us, Quality Assurance is a large umbrella that encompasses many things. Under that umbrella we include:
- Total Quality Management / Continuous Quality Improvement – This entails dissecting and documenting business and technical processes to their basic workflow elements. Once the processes have been documented, appropriate metrics or Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are established. Upon establishment of the metrics, measuring or “keeping score” can begin. The results of the measurement are then analyzed to see how the processes can be altered to provide improved outcomes.
- Software Engineering Institute’s (SEI) Capability Maturity Models – Carnegie Mellon’s SEI has developed process improvement models for product and service development and maintenance. We are familiar with the key process areas defined in their models and can assist our clients in progressing from an initial level to an optimized level organization.
- Quality Assurance Institute - The DEAR Group has been involved in the Quality Assurance Institute for over 20 years. We are well versed in and have directed our clients in QAI’s Bodies of Knowledge and their transformational approach to improving quality.
- High Performance Learning Organizations – We have helped numerous clients implement the basic tenets of a Learning Organization by implementing sound processes and procedures and establishing Centers of Excellence.
- Software Testing – Software testing is the cornerstone of our quality assurance offerings. Since our days of Y2k testing, we have become a leader in testing complex software applications.
- Web based applications – We are experienced in testing complex web based applications, as well as client/server and mainframe applications.
- Functional and regression testing - We fully understand the requirements for complete functionality and regression testing.
- Performance / Volume / Stress Testing – We are well versed in and have helped our clients with the various aspects of performance and volume testing.
- Defect tracking and resolution – We help our clients implement appropriate defect tracking and resolution systems.
Software testing is the cornerstone of our quality assurance offerings. Since our days of Y2k testing, we have become a leader in testing complex software applications.
Web based applications – We are experienced in testing complex web based applications, as well as client/server and mainframe applications.
Functional and regression testing – We fully understand the requirements for complete functionality and regression testing.
Performance / Volume / Stress Testing – We are well versed in and have helped our clients with the various aspects of performance and volume testing.
Defect tracking and resolution – We help our clients implement appropriate defect tracking and resolution systems.