Project Smart ~ Exploring trends and developments in project management today

Calendar iconNot recorded
Adobe PDF icon

SWOT Analysis

~ By Duncan Haughey

Colourful SWOT Analysis word circle

SWOT is a strategic planning tool used to evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to a project. It involves specifying the objective of the project and identifying the internal and external factors that are favourable and unfavourable to achieving that objective. The strengths and weaknesses usually arise from within an organisation, and the opportunities and threats from external sources.

The SWOT analysis is an important part of the project planning process:

  • Strengths: attributes of the organisation that help achieve the project objective.
  • Weaknesses: attributes of the organisation that stop achievement of the project objective.
  • Opportunities: external conditions that help achieve the project objective.
  • Threats: external conditions that could damage the project.

Use the following grid to record each factor:

State Project Objective:
Strengths (internal factors)Weaknesses (internal factors)
Track record (similar successes)Gaps in knowledge and expertise
Resource availabilityTimescale and deadlines
Skill levelsBudget and funding
Processes and systemsCompeting projects
ReputationProcesses and systems
Opportunities (external factors)Threats (external factors)
Technology and infrastructure developmentPolitical influences
Changing consumer behaviourEnvironmental factors
Emerging and developing marketsCompetitor activity
New innovations (R&D)Economy
Market demandSeasonal effects

With a SWOT analysis it is useful to ask these questions:

  • How can we use our strengths?
  • How can we address each weakness?
  • How can we exploit each opportunity?
  • How can we guard against each threat?

Advantages of SWOT

  • Straightforward and only costs time to do.
  • Produces new ideas to help take advantage of an organisation's strengths and defends against threats.
  • Awareness of political and environmental threats allows an organisation to have response plans prepared.

Disadvantages of SWOT

  • May persuade organisations to compile lists rather than think about what is essential to achieving objectives.
  • Presents lists uncritically and without clear prioritisation so, for example, weak opportunities may appear to balance strong threats.
  • Usually, a simple list and not critically presented.

Comments (2)

Topic: SWOT Analysis
5/5 (2)
Gravatar
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarEmpty Star
19th February 2018 5:03pm
addie (arlington) says...
At what time during the planning phase do you perform a SWOT analysis?
Gravatar
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star
6th April 2018 7:24am
Duncan Haughey (London) says...
I would suggest doing a SWOT analysis early on in the planning, as soon as the objectives of the project are clear. In its nature, SWOT is looking at both the internal and external factors that impact the project and the sooner you can identify these, the sooner you can use them to your advantage.

Add a comment



(never displayed)



 
2000
What is the day after Thursday?
Notify me of new comments via email.
Remember my form inputs on this computer.

SWOT Analysis in Project Management

Colourful SWOT analysis diagram in shape of leaves

SWOT Analysis is one of a number of different techniques used by professional project managers to help with decision-making.

RACI Matrix

Team of people in silhouette

Delegation is an essential part of a project manager's role, so identifying roles and responsibilities is important. Applying the RACI model can help.

Requirements Gathering 101

Manager passing a document to a colleague

Requirements gathering is an essential part of any project and a key project management skill. Read ten rules for successful requirements gathering.

Writing a Funding Proposal

British coins and notes

If you are already familiar with the project brief and would like to try something new why not create a funding proposal.

PROJECT SMART is the project management resource that helps managers at all levels improve their performance. We provide an important knowledge base for those involved in managing projects of all kinds. With weekly exclusive updates, we keep you in touch with the latest project management thinking.

WE ARE CONNECTED ~ Follow us on social media to get regular updates and opinion on what's happening in the world of project management.


Latest Comments

Tery A TENNANT commented on…
A Brief History of SMART Goals
- Tue 14 August 4:21pm

Guru Kalle commented on…
10 Golden Rules of Project Risk Management
- Mon 13 August 11:09am

Andrew commented on…
A Brief History of Project Management | Project Smart
- Tue 31 July 4:08pm

Latest tweets

10 Golden Rules for New Project Managers https://t.co/SDOKJ52rWy The job of project manager is a challenging one. H… https://t.co/1yL58KL9qb about 3 days ago

General Project Management • Project Manager: A Professional Who Wear Many Hats https://t.co/gBKCbSCRVM about 4 days ago

Project Manager: A Professional Who Wear Many Hats https://t.co/FzgksIqNiX #pmot #projectsmart about 4 days ago