Hi! Welcome to my site on Project-Skills.com. If you’re looking for good tips on project management, you’ve come to the right place! In my website, you’ll find information on a broad range of project management topics, as well as tools, templates and tips to help you steer your projects to success.
In this section, I’d like to share some information about myself. and I’ll start with the story of my life so far 🙂
My name is Gary Tan. I’m a 39 year-old guy who’s married with kids. I describe my character as optimistic, driven and helpful. In my spare time, I love to eat good food, play tennis, read, watch movies and play computer games. Pretty much the life of your typical married man (I hope).
I was born and raised in Singapore, a small city state here in Southeast Asia. I went through primary school, secondary school, junior college and university all in Singapore. I was very good academically, often at or near the top of the class. I majored in engineering in university and gradudated with top honors.
How My Career Started
Professionally, I consider myself an “Accidental Project Manager”. I started my career as a technical analyst in a large Amercian IT consulting company. I was delving deep into Java, J2EE, e-business and software development for the web back then. All hot topics in during that period.
After about two years in the technical domain, I got introduced to business analysis. I started playing the role of “Business Analyst” in core system projects – delivering large scale IT transformation programmes for government institutions, banks and insurance companies. I did BA work for another five years. I learnt a LOT about business analysis, how to gather requirements for systems and build business cases. I learnt about being confident, about presentation skills and how to facilitate meetings and work with project stakeholders. A lot of my BA skills actually cut into project management – but I did not realize it yet.
After nearly seven years in consulting, I left to join the banking industry where I was thrown into formal project management roles. I picked up skills like formal project planning, stakeholder analysis, negotiation skills, as well as various stages of the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). While I was in the bank, I started controlling larger teams of resources. I became more aware of people issues in projects, e.g. how to motivate the team, make sure everyone was on track with their tasks and so forth.
I also found the time to do a part-time finance degree in Singapore. This was to supplant my knowledge in project management as I believed ‘generic’ project management was no longer sufficient to market myself in the industry.
After nearly two years in the bank, I got called up by an ex-boss who asked me to join the consulting industry again. I did not really hesitate or think twice. The truth is, being in an ‘end user’ environment like the bank – I felt I was in the cost centre running projects and the job security was not there. Not that a job in a consulting firm is much more secure – but I like to drive things and am quite a hard charging person. I felt you could do that better as a consulting firm project manager than as a banking project manager.
My Job Today
Today, I’ve more than a decade of professional experience – both within the consulting and banking industries. I’m currently a management consultant working for a large consulting firm here in Singapore. I am a project manager delivering mainly system projects for clients in the banking and insurance industries.
Here’s a list of roles I’ve played before:
- Project Manager Business Analyst
- Test Manager
And here’s a list of the project areas which I’m familiar with:
- IT strategy
- IT transformation
- Business process re-engineering
- Business requirements gathering and analysis
- User acceptance testing
- Change management
- System deployment
- Vendor evaluation
I’ve also done some amount of business development and sales during my time in consulting.
Some Projects I’ve Been Involved In
My job today involves delivering projects for the financial services industry. Here’s a sample of the work I do:
Project manager for a core banking project for a Singaporean bank
I plan the project, manage a team of 10 resources from my firm to gather requirements, design, test and deploy a banking software solution for my client. A banking software vendor helps us configure the solution for the bank. In my line, this is known as the full SDLC or Software Development Life Cycle.
As you can imagine, this also requires me to be well-versed in the banking domain and also the banking software solution used. I do have that skill set but picking the skills up was not easy. This particular project I mentioned was my second project in the space. The first time I ran a banking project and worked with this software vendor, obviously I had a steeper learning curve.
Delivering a trading system for a securities firm
This was done for a brokerage firm and I really enjoyed it. The team was small – myself as project manager, and another two business analysts – but we were responsible for hooking up the trading system in the company to the stock exchange. We stayed weekends to make sure the systems connected properly to the exchange before the markets opened again on weekdays.
Lead Business Analyst for a system selection project for an insurance company
Systems evaluation is something else I do. I profile banking and insurance software vendors and make sure they meet the needs of a company. I may help the company draft a Request For Proposal (RFP) so that the vendor company can respond with their detailed solution.
I love my family. My kids are the centre of our family life. They bring so much cheer and fun to the family I can’t imagine life without them.
And my wife – she is the best. She is a simple person, and often I am the one working the crazy consulting hours while she stays in the backend and helps out in the family. Without her, I seriously would not be able to cope as a project manager in my current job. So I’d like to extend my deepest love and kudos to her.
She is, quite simply, a SUPERWOMAN.
My Principles In Life
I believe that in life, whether in your personal or professional life, it’s important to have principles which ground you. When I was age 25, I read and re-read Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People – where he mentioned a person needs a mission statement as a foundation for principled-based living.
I believe that till this day.
My Mission Statement
My mission statement, or tenets of my life are:
1. To be a better husband, father, son and brother
I remind myself of this everyday. No matter what happens, my first role in life is to be a good husband to my wife, good father to my kids, a good son to my parents (and in-laws) and a great brother to my siblings (and in-laws).
2. To develop myself personally
I believe I am more effective when I develop my physical, mental and spiritual accuities.
3. To develop myself professionally
My occupation is that of a Financial Services Consultant. I continuously seek to upgrade myself to do my job better.
4. To develop financial independence
I believe that a job alone does not feed you for life. I want to develop the ability to earn part-time income to feed my family and have a better life.
5. To be a great friend
Friendships are critical. I believe in making new friends and maintaining my old friendships.
The Purpose of This Site
You may think I’m putting up this site merely as a hobby. Actually, that’s not true. This is not just a hobby to me.
The reasons why I put up this site, put countless hours into creating its content is many fold.
1. To create valuable content that project managers can use
This is my first objective. I want to help budding project managers jump start their projects with templates, guidelines and toolkits. I struggled when I first started as a PM and I hope you don’t have to.
2. Introduce you to good PM products and services
There are many tools out there useful to project managers, ranging from templates and checklists, to software and training programs. I’d like to draw on my experience and sieve out the best of these resources for you.
Now, some of the products and services I recommend to you, I do make a small commission from. But I believe in being open and transparent about it, and recommending ONLY the best products which I’ve tried and tested. If a product doesn’t pass muster, I don’t recommend it on this site.
3. Build a relationship with you
I hope to form a community of project managers through this website. So that I can hear your thoughts, your concerns and what kind of content you what to read about. If the stuff I write here doesn’t make sense to you, I’d like to hear from you so I can make it better.
And perhaps another point – this website, although centred around project management – does not delve only into this topic.
Project management also includes aspects of other skills and roles (e.g. strategy, business analysis, testing) – I will create content about those topics where they are relevant as well.
Wrapping Up …
That’s it! I hope you will find my website useful and do feel free to drop me a note if you have questions.
Have a great time learning about project management!