SWOT: Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats are important considerations in managing any type of project.
Strengths and weaknesses are something that are internal to your company, and opportunities and threats are external to your company, so you may also see SWOT analysis referred to as internal-external analysis.
SWOT analysis is a framework which can be used to identify and analyse the strengths and weaknesses of your company whilst also taking into account any opportunities and threats that you may be looking at. In the case of your strengths and weaknesses, you are not just considering them in regard to your own company but also how they compare to your competitors or the effect that they might have on the experience of your client. Opportunities and threats however can often refer to any changes in the market or wider world, and these can represent a positive or negative risk to your business.
SWOT Analysis – The Four Elements
Things that your company do well are their strengths. However, assets and resources can also be strengths. Examples include:
· A good reputation
· Solid financing
· Product variety
· A good online presence with followers
Weaknesses are internal resources and attributes, things that your company might lack. These make your business vulnerable, so you need to know them. Examples include:
· Lengthy delivery times
· Poor customer satisfaction
· Gaps in your expertise
· Lack of agility and a rigid structure
Opportunities are circumstances that are external and can have the potential to help your company grow or place it in a favourable position. Examples include:
· Expanding industry
· New support programs from the government
And finally, threats are external forces that can represent a risk to your business. These are things you should be on the look out for in order to overcome them:
· Issues with the supply chain
· Shortage of new recruits
· Changes in product standards
Frequency Of SWOT Analysis
A training course for project managers (whether it’s APM PMQ, PMI or PRINCE2) will develop your understanding of just how important SWOT analysis is to your business. It is essential that you undertake SWOT analysis on a regular basis. Using extensive data, it is a good idea to undertake a comprehensive analysis every 3 – 5 years. This will allow you to do a smaller review that will only take a couple of hours, either every year or every other year, depending on your company’s requirements.
When small-scale issues occur, you may also wish to undertake a small-scale analysis.
By keeping on top of your SWOT analysis with a comprehensive plan, you will be ensuring that any subsequent analysis that you need to undertake will be much quicker and, therefore will be more efficient for your company in pinpointing any potential issues. This will allow you to keep on top of things as they occur rather than waiting until you do another full analysis.
Conducting a SWOT analysis for smaller-scale issues will allow you to ensure that you can also keep on top of these issues as and when they occur and put the necessary measures in place.