day in the life of an operations manager blog feature

A Day in the Life of an Operations Manager: Responsibilities, Skills, and Support Tools

Operations managers are like orchestra conductors. Just as the conductor coordinates all the different instrumentalists and ensures the delivery of a harmonic musical performance, an operations manager supervises and coordinates tasks and resources to keep the business in sync.

Whether revising processes to remove redundancies and make workflows cost-effective or managing fast-paced quality assurance programs, an operations manager goes above and beyond to keep the lights on for a company. 💡

To grasp the complexity of this position, check out our take on a day in the life of an operations manager. Besides the daily duties, we’ll explore various aspects of this important role, including:

  • Desirable qualifications
  • Tools and techniques operations managers use
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Understanding the Role of an Operations Manager 

An operations manager wears many hats in an organization. They are involved in multiple vital processes and procedures—from strategic planning and efficient task batching to quality assurance. They typically communicate with other departments and divisions within a company but may also deal with customers occasionally.

Because of the dynamic nature of the job, they need to have strong technical and business expertise and the confidence to make crucial decisions on the fly. They must also have a wide range of soft skills, such as time management and communication.

We’ll break down the three main functions of an operations manager in the following sections:

1. Planning and prioritization to increase efficiency

The operations manager must first thoroughly understand the organization’s overall business objectives. Their job is to align the company’s high-level goals with the goals of operations teams by building an effective operations strategy.

During the strategizing process, the operations manager focuses on:

  1. Operations planning: The operations manager defines the actions the organization or specific teams must take and sets deadlines for them. These plans will be the basis of the operations manager’s capacity planning and risk management strategies
  2. Prioritization: The operations manager will consult with other senior managers to decide which activities should be moved higher on the team’s to-do list. Prioritizing a few objectives at a time prevents quality problems down the line
  3. Deciding on performance metrics: The operations manager needs to spend time determining the key performance indicators (KPIs) that will mark the operation’s success and add to the health of the company in the financial statements

2. Process design and monitoring and managing quality assurance programs

Considering the company’s goals, laws, and industry standards, the operations manager crafts policies and workflows for the entire organization. They must update these policies and improve processes as new information comes in.

The operations manager has to coordinate with other departments involved in delivering products and services. That may include running quality assurance programs to check production efficiency, cost-effectiveness of current logistics, and optimal allocation of human resources (HR).

If the operational performance isn’t satisfactory, the manager may redesign or optimize processes to make them cost-effective and achieve favorable outcomes.

The operations manager also oversees operations as they unwind, both on-site and in the field. On top of everything, they monitor budgets, performing a cost-to-benefit analysis to assess the financial impact of operational decisions. 💵

Pro tip: The free ClickUp Cost Benefit Analysis Template allows operation managers to quickly evaluate the cost-effectiveness of available processes before investing in one. With its simple, color-coded design, the template simplifies complex decision-making.

ClickUp Cost Benefit Analysis Template
ClickUp’s Cost Benefit Analysis Template helps operations managers make financially responsible decisions

3. Employee management

A great operations manager often collaborates with the HR manager to do the following:

  • Keep track of employee schedules
  • Onboard new employees
  • Schedule work effectively, in line with the skill sets and availability of employees
  • Document best practices and standard operating procedures (SOPs)
  • Devise impactful training programs to improve the efficiency of production teams
  • Implement new systems for employee attendance and time tracking 
  • Write process manuals to improve efficiency and team productivity
  • Implement safety measures in factories and office premises

Pro tip: To assess team capacity and distribute tasks effectively, managers can use the ClickUp Employee Schedule Template.

ClickUp Employee Schedule Template
No matter the size of your team, ClickUp’s Employee Schedule Template makes it easy to coordinate workloads

The template features various views, such as Board and Calendar, allowing managers to assess the work from different angles. They can also track the progress toward project-specific milestones.

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A Typical Day in the Life of an Operations Manager

Every day is unique for an operations manager. We’ve described what their average day entails below.

In the morning

Usually, the operations manager is one of the first people to arrive at the office. This allows them to clear their head so they can tackle the day’s challenges. They first make sure everything is in order for operational processes to start. 🌄

To see what’s in store for the day and make effective plans, the operations manager reviews their to-do list and calendar. They also check their email inbox to see if any problems need to be addressed urgently.

Pro tip: Highly productive operations managers typically use a task management solution like ClickUp to keep things organized digitally. For instance, ClickUp’s Task Checklist feature is the go-to for many managers as it simplifies complex tasks and makes them more manageable.

ClickUp 3.0 Task view Checklist
ClickUp’s Task Checklists boost your productivity by allowing you to break down difficult tasks into smaller bits

Daily problem resolution (with examples)

Most of the operations manager’s day is dedicated to resolving emerging problems. 🚨

For example, the supplier informs that they’re running late with the delivery of raw materials due to weather conditions. In that case, the operations manager evaluates existing inventory, prioritizes the production of the most urgent products, and lets the customers know about potential delays. They may also get in touch with alternative suppliers to minimize disruptions. 

In the case of a sudden equipment breakdown, the operations manager calls up or assembles a team to tackle the repairs immediately. If a quick fix isn’t possible, the manager determines how to complete all the work using the available machinery and prevent production delays. 

Another stressful problem-solving scenario emerges when a key employee has to take an unexpected sick leave for an indefinite period. Here, the operations manager is tasked with finding a temporary replacement.

So, throughout the day, an operations manager has to be ready to tackle these unexpected problems, and for this, their risk management game should be top-notch.

Pro tip: When faced with a demanding decision, operations managers can turn to the ClickUp Value Risk Matrix Template. The template lets them list all solutions to a problem, assign value and risk ratings, and visualize where each option stands in the Whiteboard matrix. Once the optimal solution emerges, the manager can prioritize it in the Workspace so the team can start working on it ASAP.


Operations managers usually take part in or lead many meetings and calls throughout the day, such as with:

  • Other managers: Typically, the operations manager hosts weekly meetings with all managers and department heads. During this meeting, they recap the previous week’s work and plan for the next one. This is an opportunity to bring problems to light and review reports
  • Customers: Clients, especially new ones, tend to have many questions and concerns. The operations manager addresses some of them, explaining how the company will perform the job it was hired for
  • Senior executives: The operations manager takes process or quality problems up to the senior management, such as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and General Manager (GM), for timely solutions

Pro tip: Having a clear meeting agenda and sticking to it ensures these conversations are efficient and fruitful. With ClickUp, managers can create agenda templates for different use cases to speed up preparations for future meetings.

The ClickUp Meeting Agenda Template
ClickUp Meeting Agenda Template

End of day

The operations manager needs to stay until the end of the day in case of last-minute emergencies. They usually wrap up the day by rechecking their inbox, scheduling meetings, and preparing tasks for the next day. 🌇

How the industry can influence an operations manager’s day-to-day

The daily duties of an operations manager vary depending on the industry they’re in. Check out four industry-specific examples and relevant responsibilities:

  1. Construction: Managing the procurement of materials to construction sites, tracking resource usage, ensuring equipment maintenance, dispatching equipment and construction workers, vendor pricing monitoring, project budget management
  2. Information technology (IT): Monitoring, maintaining, and optimizing network infrastructure, overseeing security operations and data transfers, managing upgrades of hardware and software, analyzing system performance and proposing improvements, resolving significant technical difficulties
  3. Healthcare: Ordering and tracking the inventory (medical equipment and supplies), maintaining patient records, establishing the facility’s policies and procedures, ensuring compliance, devising strategies to optimize the patient experience
  4. Retail: Building and maintaining client relationships, managing inventory, monitoring orders, shipments, sales generation, investigating customer complaints and suggestions
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Skills and Requirements for an Operations Manager

Given the versatility and the importance of operations management, candidates must possess the proper qualifications and skills to be considered for the role. Find out what those are in the sections below.

Technical requirements

Recruiters may seek the following when hiring operations managers:

  1. Education: Usually, a Bachelor’s or higher degree in Operations Management, Business Administration, or related field. The degree indicates the individual’s theoretical knowledge
  2. Proven work experience: Operations management experience is ideal, but a background in other leadership roles works too
  3. Hard skills: Some of the most sought-after ones include proficiency in data analysis, budget management, and project management methodologies like agile and Lean Six Sigma. Experience with relevant business and management software is desirable
  4. Certifications: While not always necessary, certifications showcase the manager’s willingness to continue developing their skills. Valid certifications for operations managers include:
    1. Certified manager certification (CMC)
    2. Project management professional (PMP)
    3. Certified security supervision and management (CSM)
    4. Certified management accountant (CMA)
  5. Industry-specific skills: Knowledge of and experience in the specific industry can increase the manager’s chances of succeeding in the role

Business acumen and administration

An operations manager should have analytical skills to understand business processes and recognize what must be done to keep the company running and growing. They should also be able to think strategically, assess risks and opportunities, and have the basic literacy to navigate financial statements.

Time and operations management skills

Since they have to juggle many tasks and resources, an operations manager must be organized. Their job is to create schedules while considering project timelines and employee availability.

Operations managers often use Gantt charts (available within ClickUp) to build and track project timelines. 

ClickUp Gantt Timeline Template
ClickUp’s Gantt Timeline Template provides an effective and appealing way to visualize your task schedule for any project

Interpersonal and communication skills

Operations managers interact with almost all parties involved in the business. That includes staff, other managers, executives, distributors, and clients. This is why they must be courteous and maintain strong relationships. They should be able to share ideas effectively in any medium.

Management and coaching skills

When managing staff, the operations manager is responsible for training employees, helping them develop their procedural skills and become more productive.

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Tools and Techniques Used by Operations Managers for Daily Tasks

The following guidelines can help operations managers become exceptional at their job.

1. Leverage the power of software and automation

Once you’ve gained a deep understanding of all operational processes, start introducing tech. This will allow you and your team to work more efficiently, automate some mundane tasks, and prevent downtimes related to admin delays. Some of the common software operations managers use include:

With a comprehensive platform such as ClickUp, you can have all these operations management tools under the same roof. 😍

ClickUp can be a hub for all your knowledge, planning, and progress-tracking workflows. Use ClickUp Tasks and its native project management capabilities to schedule and assign tasks. Break them into subtasks or checklists and specify dependencies to create a seamless team-wide workflow.

Visualize all upcoming work in one of ClickUp’s 15+ customizable views—the classic Board view and Calendar view are favorites among operations managers! 

ClickUp 3.0 Board view simplified
Visualize all upcoming work and schedule tasks with ease using ClickUp

That’s not all—streamline customer support operations and collect feedback using ClickUp’s customizable Form view. The platform will automatically turn responses into tasks to save you the time you’d spend processing them manually.

To communicate with teams or individuals for quick problem-solving, use the Chat view or tag teammates in task comments. And if you want to brainstorm new strategies and map out processes in a more visual setup, use ClickUp Whiteboards and Mind Maps that support real-time collaboration.

ClickUp 3.0 Whiteboards simplified
Brainstorm collectively and get creative with the help of ClickUp Whiteboards

Bonus read: The best project management templates for operations teams!

2. Data is your best friend

If you’re not measuring performance, it’s hard to tell how successful your operations are. Data enables you to be objective and track incremental progress. It’s also the key to identifying bottlenecks before they escalate into significant problems.

You also need an effective way to organize all the data so you can have it at your fingertips. Enter ClickUp Docs, the platform’s document manager and editor with rich formatting features. It’s equipped with a native AI assistant that can:

  • Process data requests for tasks and processes in your ClickUp Workspace
  • Brainstorm solutions for operations teams (with 100+ prompts)
  • Generate project timelines and process guides
  • Summarize meeting notes
ClickUp Docs: AI Thread Summarization
Organize and summarize your research with the help of ClickUp Docs and AI

3. Don’t be afraid to analyze competitors

You should look at the operations and metrics that companies and managers you look up to use. Think about how you can implement them into your workflows. Be careful not to overdo it, though. Some tactics may not work for your specific niche.

Bonus read: Check out today’s top competitor analysis tools.

4. Oversee but don’t micromanage

Many operations managers make things hard for themselves by micromanaging ALL employees—that’s not going to work.

The goal is for employees to work independently without needing constant supervision. While you should oversee work to ensure the day-to-day operations run smoothly, it’s important to invest in personnel training and trust your team. That way, you can focus on more crucial tasks—streamlining workflows and performance.

ClickUp allows you to track progress from afar as work gets completed. You can set Goals and measurable targets. Browse its 50+ report cards and arrange them on your personalized ClickUp Dashboard. That way, you can get a quick overview of team or company-wide processes in real time.

ClickUp 3.0 Dashboard
Build a ClickUp Dashboard so you can quickly assess the progress of each operation and team performance

5. Balance efficiency and quality

In the operations world, neither efficiency nor quality should suffer. While it’s not always possible to achieve both to the fullest, it’s essential to make your operations strategy strong in both aspects. Always striving for this balance will bolster the profitability and sustainability of your company, positioning it as a market leader. ⚖️

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Plan and Operate Businesses Efficiently with ClickUp

In this sneak peek into the daily life of an operations manager, you’ve learned about the specific duties and challenges the role entails. While the job is complex, with the right approach, skills, and motivation, any operations manager can drive efficiency and innovation with excellent outcomes. 

Having a tool to support these processes can help you get there faster. Sign up for ClickUp today, and use one of its many operations templates and features to work smarter—not harder! 😉

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