Operations management

Definition

Operations management relates to the management of those activities that create the core services or products provided by an organisation.

General

Operations management was originally developed in product-based industries, but the principles have been adapted to service-based organisations. In the context of P3 management, operations management is viewed as the activity that is affected by, but does not form part of, a project, programme or portfolio.

In simple terms, operations management manages routine activity, while P3 management implements change. For this reason, the activities covered by operations management are often collectively termed, from the P3 perspective, as ‘business-as-usual’.

Operations management is concerned with the conversion of inputs into outputs under management control. It will have many different components depending on the nature of the organisation. Figure 1.7 shows some examples of the range of possible components.

Figure 1.7: Operations management

As with P3 management, business-as-usual activities will be supported by disciplines such as HR management, marketing, legal and financial.

One of the first steps in organisational P3 management maturity is the ability to differentiate what should be managed as business-as-usual and what should be managed as a project or programme. This is not always an obvious distinction.

Some packages of work (for example, in planned maintenance) may meet the definition of a project, but be more easily managed as a component of operations management.Conversely, programmes and portfolios that are implementing major change may have to temporarily encompass some aspects of business-as-usual in order to minimise the impact on business-as-usual and the organisation’s customers.

P3 management has to work closely with operations management to bring about change that becomes routine activity. It is the delivery of these routine products and services that fulfil the strategic mission of the organisation, and it is the expansion or improved effectiveness and efficiency of business-as-usual that usually constitutes the benefits of a project, programme or portfolio.

 

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