The energy market for Small Hydroelectric Plant (SHP) in Brazil, especially when it refers to the implementation of new projects, has suffered with the competitiveness of wind farms. In order to be more competitive in comparison with the wind farms, it is necessary to optimize all of processes, specially operation and maintenance, once they have significant financial impacts on the business. In this context, the aim of this work is to make a critical evaluation and propose contributions to reduce the costs and to improve the performance of the operation and maintenance process into SHP. The evaluation encompasses all the processes involved in the operation and maintenance, such as spares parts management, technical knowledge, human resources, organization and methods of work, safety, environmental issues and contributions proposes optimization. The main focus is on a multidisciplinary team and autonomous professionals who have the capacity to act in various areas of a SHP, focused on the performance and useful life equipment improvement and, consequently, their impact on the entrepreneur revenue. The work critically evaluates the performance of the operation and maintenance of three different SHPs and proposes a methodology to manage the operation and maintenance process in order to ensure the profitability of the enterprises.