Risks and unexpected situations are inevitable in many big-ticket technology project rollouts and implementations. More often than not, it is the dedicated leader who determines the success of a project.
"A common characteristic of high-achieving leaders is a deep sense of passion," says Rosemary Chan, a consultant at Morgan Stanley Asia Limited.
Ms Chan stresses that it is passion that drives her to deliver exemplary IT projects, and helps her team and other stakeholders to ride out adversity over the long haul. She adds, "Passion is what helps a leader assert influence and leadership."
A veteran in managing turnkey data centre solutions, Ms Chan has more than 25 years of experience in managing major mainframe upgrade and system implementation projects. She is one of the award winners in the IT Project Management Award category of the Hong Kong Computer Society (HKCS) Outstanding IT Achiever Awards 2008.
Ms Chan attributes her success to her ability to build constructive relationships. Aside from basic domain knowledge, she stresses that a good project manager possesses the ability to convince management, clients and other parties of the need to implement or upgrade a piece of technology.
Echoing this, Roy Pun, another IT Project Management Award winner, says people in leadership roles must be considerate, observant and able to see the clients and stakeholders' perspectives at all times.
Mr Pun, currently an associate partner of the global business services team of IBM China/Hong Kong Limited, has experience in process consulting and enterprise resource planning (ERP) system implementation. Projects under his belt include large-scale ERP implementation work for public transportation companies and government departments.
"An IT project manager needs more than just a good grip of IT knowledge. In order to meet the stakeholders' expectations, we need a clear understanding of their goals and objectives," Mr Pun remarks.
The role of an IT manager has changed tremendously from one that used to be more back office or support based to one where IT managers work closely with clients. "Part of our work lies in consultancy and providing long-term advice and support to clients, helping them to stay ahead of the game," says Mr Pun.
More importantly, IT managers are now required to be au fait with the client's industry and have good business sense, he adds.