Organisation & Methods originally came from the pioneers of scientific management ( Taylor and Gilbreth). Their work influenced the early approaches and establishment of the function. Organisation & Methods, commonly known as O&M, is defined by B.S. 3138.10001 as:
the systematic examination of activities in order to improve the effective use of human and other material resources
Essentially it is a specialist function that has a primary objective of improving an organisations efficiency and control. In this way it can be seen as an essential function that should be part of the make up of any organisation.
O&M and its associated techniques can be seen to form the basis of Business Process Reengineering and Business Process Improvement.
It is normally found as a consultative service to management, justified on the grounds that other line management do not have the time or the skills to provide the service. Another factor in the application of O&M by trained, specialist staff other than the immediate line management is that it can bring a fresh outlook into a business process - staff and management working on a process an a day to day basis may not be able to think very far beyond it, and miss what may be obvious improvement opportunities.
Until recently it was possible to find O&M departments established within a clearly identifiable, named form in most organisations beyond a certain size. However, in recent years there has been a tendency for the O&M function to be rebadged as, for example, Business Improvement, Business Analysis, Project Management, Process Improvement or Internal/Business Consultancy. Also in other organisations the O&M function has been subsumed into other functions, most commonly into IT. Some organisations have disbanded the function altogether or supplement a smaller internal O&M function and buy in the expertise as and when required from external consultancies.
O&M can provide a basis for the approach to almost any project. Typically the basic steps that have to be followed can be summarised as SREDIM.
Embedded within each of these steps are an extensive array of techniques, many of which are described in other areas of the web site.
If you wish to find out more about this topic, check other areas of this site and in addition you can contact the relevant professional institute, the Institute of Management Services by e-mail. Alternatively the Institute of Management have an extensive information service on this and other related topics.