MSMEs and the PMO Mindset: The difference it makes to profitability, growth, scalability of a venture

Updated: Nov 09, 2020 12:06 PM

Ease of Doing Business for MSMEs: MSMEs practicing basic PMO mindset and inculcating the culture among the people to do the same, often win, against the odds.

IPRS, Hungama musicPMO mindset is an ability to think it through before acting on it and executing it flawlessly.
  • By Samir Sathe

Ease of Doing Business for MSMEs: What is Program Management Office (PMO) mindset? What difference does it make to the profitability, growth, and scalability of MSMEs enterprises? How do they help the MSMEs in crises? What should MSMEs do from tomorrow?

The Ignored Problem

This is a situation that MSME owners are too familiar with.

At the top of the iceberg in water, is poor financials, followed by time, quality, and money-related issues, driven by poor task and people performance. The owners see, feel, hear and experience these issues, recurringly. More often than not, what is ignored is the poor task and time definition, misfit talent, low governance, poor communication. Unfortunately, I have seen many MSMEs tolerate mediocrity under the veil of resource crunch. This is what constitutes the ignored at the bottom of the iceberg, in water.

The PMO Mindset

My research suggests that the trait of being able to imbibe the PMO mindset, practices, ownership, and tools makes them win against odds. MSMEs which practice basic PMO mindset and inculcate the culture among the people to do the same, often win, against the odds. The successful MSMEs demonstrate this trait themselves, or they hire others, early in their lifecycle of enterprise, should they discover they do not have it. In either case, their business vision, aspiration, ambition, risk-taking ability, and willingness to fail is balanced by their ability to define, plan, staff, communicate and govern the tasks across the levels, functions, and geographies. They are able to infuse this mind-set in the people, and as a result, the enterprise acts truly entrepreneurial with quality of execution, with speed, at scale.

MSMEs have a 33 per cent higher chance of performing better than peers if PMO is built as a core skill or competency. They have a 70 per cent higher chances of facing survival issues, if they do not, as per various studies such as PMI-Forrester Research 2013, Thomas and Mullaly, 2008, Lappe and Sprang, 2014, Sádaba, Pérez-Ezcurdia, Lazcano, & Villanueva, 2014, Kerzner, 2013; Turner, 1999. My own experience corroborates these findings.

The good news is that the PMO mindset could be cultivated. MSMEs owners should pay heed and start to act from tomorrow.

Practice the PMO Culture, from tomorrow, even in Crisis!

MSME owners need to go back to the basics of the PMO mindset. I have simplified the concept of the PMO mindset into what it relevant to MSMEs, for the owners, and for their employees.

It boils down to simple work habits being practiced at the level of self to the level of the ecosystem. A small glitch in software could crash an airplane or a small chink in the ship could sink it. A small inappropriate detail missed in planning could render the entire project, useless. A small remark to a colleague or a wrong email message could damage relations for a lifetime. A wrong decision today could befall the organization tomorrow.

These are simple things to do but ask yourself whether one consciously does them. The answer is a shouting ‘No’.

The biggest myth that lands the MSMEs in trouble is when a crisis hits them. It is a myth that discourages them to practice the PMO Mindset. Often, it is believed that in crisis one has no time to plan and make a decision that needs to be speedy, and therefore planning is a waste of time. Quite the opposite! It is in crisis, that a trained PMO mindset is able to make the best decisions.

PMO mindset is an ability to think it through before acting on it and executing it flawlessly. It is essentially the ability to think of micro and macro, adopt a considered approach between the external and internal variables, use logic and emotion when needed and finally be able to make your organization anti-fragile (Nassim Taleb). MSMEs need to evolve from the disorder. Anti-fragile systems embrace randomness and disorder and they learn and evolve from it. Indian MSMEs are witnessing it daily. Honing PMO mindset is about building a habit to be able to evolve from disorder, rightly. Think of tomorrow, start today.

Samir Sathe is Executive Vice President, Wadhwani Advantage at Wadhwani Foundation. Views expressed are the author’s own.

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