In this note it is demonstrated that optical emission spectroscopy (OES) is an easy-to-implement and valuable tool to study, optimize, and monitor thin film growth by plasma-assisted atomic layer deposition (ALD). The species in the plasma can be identified through the analysis of the light emitted by the plasma. OES provides therefore information on the reactant species delivered to the surface by the plasma but it also yields unique insight into the surface reaction products and, as a consequence, on the reaction mechanisms of the deposition process. Time-resolved measurements reveal information about the amount of precursor dosing and length of plasma exposure needed to saturate the self-limiting half reactions, which is useful for the optimization of the ALD process. Furthermore, time-resolved OES can also be used as an easy-to-implement process monitoring tool for plasma-assisted ALD processes on production equipment; for example, to monitor reactor wall conditions or to detect process faults in real time.