“You should change before you have to,” Wipro chairman and managing director Azim Premji famously said. Taking his cue from Premji, Nanda Kishore said that digital transformation is inevitable in order to disrupt and bring in new ways of working.

“Some 20-25 years back, we would be happy if we released a software product once a year. When we increased the frequency to twice a year, there was a lot of appreciation. Today, Amazon is capable of releasing one every second,” said Mr. Kishore.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos says agility, or how quickly somebody can roll out a change, is very important. It matters a lot today because anybody can copy features — but how quickly you can deliver is key.

Dwelling on transformation, Mr. Kishore said it has three outcomes. One, there are more competitive products. Two, new products lead to better market share and revenue growth, and three, it improves the customer relationship. Apart from this, there is also better employee engagement which, studies show, can lead to a 9 to 10 percent growth.

He said a good project manager should have a high digital quotient and be ready for transformation. There are four levels to this. The first pertains to how project managers can adopt newer digital work methods. The second is to get deeper into a technology. The third is experience mapping, or thinking from the customer’s point of view. And the fourth is automation, which is going to take over a lot of tasks to eliminate manual errors.

Apart from the four traits, project managers should learn to manage culturally diverse teams that are different in their thought processes, and also globally distributed teams.

“We could get all the four traits right, but if we don't get the sensitivities right, we could go to a place where we don't want to be,” he said.

He spoke of Wipro’s “robust” project management programs accredited by PMI. “We have also introduced new-age project management because things are quite different (now), especially when it comes to beating the Amazon kind of releases.”

Answering an audience question on his biggest failure and learning, Mr. Kishore said, “The expectation you set is very important with the customer. If you have set the expectation that you're the type who will work long hours over the weekend, that becomes the project plan.”