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Creating a future-ready workforce for MSMEs in rising project economy

The most critical success factor for the MSME workforce will be reduction of time and cost overruns while developing a new product or value proposition.

The Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) sector is one of the key contributors to the country’s economy and plays an important role in employment generation. While the pandemic has had a significant impact on all sectors across the nation, it has catapulted the adoption of digital transformation to ensure business continuity. It has made organizations, especially in the MSME sector, realize the importance of digitization. For instance, Indian MSMEs in the manufacturing sector are now deploying technologies around robotics, automation and cloud services to get real-time insights. 

As MSMEs accelerate their digital transformation journey, it is in turn giving rise to new ways of working, thus making it increasingly important for them to have a future-ready workforce which is equipped with new-age skillsets and an innovative mindset to improve productivity. This future ready workforce is Changemakers who can be students, entrepreneurs, project professionals, specialists and business leaders. They are individuals that proactively drive change and transformational efforts for businesses, people and society overall—simply put, they are the ones who make change happen. It is these changemakers who are outside of the PM profession that also needs project management skills.

To bridge the existing skills gap, the sector requires changemakers who possess the requisite project management skills to pivot and adapt newer work models, understand business needs, foster flexibility, and take an agile approach. These holistic skills will help changemakers become successful project managers who can help their organizations grow. These required skills can be classified into three major areas: Technical Project Management skills, Business Acumen and Power Skills.

Project managers in the MSME sector need to be equipped with these skills and the knowledge to initiate, plan, and execute processes, which could range from micro to macro. Keeping this in mind, professional project management training and certification can help these managers seamlessly manage and deliver projects successfully. The project managers also need to take an agile project management approach by understanding the goals of the organization, rethinking success metrics, and adapting the process of operations for continuous growth.  

Finally, to put these skills and knowledge into motion to drive success, the changemakers will need to have comprehensive power skills to lead by collaboration. They will have to act as project leaders who can use critical/design thinking to manage dispersed team members remotely.

For a future-ready workforce in MSMEs, upskilling through project management skills will be key. It will enable changemakers to play the role of project managers in their organisations and help improve the productivity of the entire workforce. It will also allow them to identify loopholes in the process, drive solutions, and be prepared for any uncertainties. Furthermore, an agile approach will help business leaders to understand the critical factors driving operational execution and make decisions that will help meet targets.  

The most critical success factor for the MSME workforce will be reduction of time and cost overruns while developing a new product or value proposition, deploying new technologies and delivering customer value. 

In a nutshell, upskilling of the workforce in project management skills is going to be a gamechanger for the MSME sector. It will allow for growth, resilience and transformation. Moreover, these upskilling opportunities are cost and time-effective, to meet MSME budgets. Like all industries, it is important to invest in people and their skills. It is the workforce that defines success of any organization. Hence, investment in upskilling the workforce in the MSME sector to be true changemakers is the need of the hour.