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Using SWOT Analysis in Project Decision Making

written by: Tara Duggan • edited by: Ginny Edwards • updated: 10/24/2011

Conducting a SWOT analysis allows a project manager to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and determine risks that might impact the project as well as possible prospects. Have you been searching for a comprehensive guide to completing a SWOT analysis? Look no further!

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    Analysis Using a 2-by-2 grid, a project manager labels the top left box with a heading of “Strengths." He labels the lower left box with a heading of “Weaknesses." Then, he labels the lower right as “Opportunities" and the upper right as “Threats." Conducting a SWOT analysis typically involves inviting stakeholders to a meeting. The facilitator guides people to contribute their ideas in a productive brainstorming session that fills out the contents of the boxes.

    To identify the strengths associated with a project, list the advantages associated with the effort, assess the team’s skills or find out if the necessary people, procedures and tools are available to complete the project. Determining the weaknesses associated with your project involves listing the disadvantages of completing the work and identifying any gaps in capability, finances or timeline requirements. Analyze the opportunities by finding out about latest market developments for your industry, identifying competitor weaknesses and seeking out new technology, strategies and methodologies. Determine the threats by identifying competing technology or services and listing the potential environmental factors, such as staffing or financing, and analyzing the current global economy. Successful project managers use the output from a SWOT analysis to make a decision about whether to proceed with a project, produce a status report or generate creative ideas.

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    What Is SWOT Analysis? How to Do a SWOT Analysis

    Have you wondered how to incorporate more analysis into your project management planning activities? Learn how to conduct a SWOT analysis by using a simple template and asking the right questions. Find out how to use a SWOT analysis for both risk management and project management.

    History of the SWOT Analysis

    Are you curious about the history of the SWOT analysis technique? You might be surprised to learn that in the 1970s, Albert Humphrey developed an analytical technique to evaluate strategic plans. He determined what things were satisfactory, what opportunities could be explored in the future, what faults were present and what threats might surface later. Find out how this strategy evolved into the grid introduced in 1982 by Heinz Weihrich.

    Free SWOT Analysis Template for Project Managers

    Look here if you need a SWOT analysis template. Get a free template and learn how to use a SWOT analysis and conduct mind mapping activities. Find out what should be changed, improved or implemented to make your project team work together more effectively.

    Compare and Contrast: SWOT Analysis with Portfolio Analysis

    Use the SWOT analysis techni1142448 thinking about money 2 que to compare and contrast different aspects of your portfolio. Find out how to pragmatically identify an organization's strengths and weaknesses, keep your analysis brief and use this tool in conjunction with other tools. Use a portfolio analysis to establish the optimal share of the resources. Use both techniques to examine the organization in order to establish an ongoing strategic plan.

    SWOT Analysis Example: How to Conduct a Full Scale SWOT Analysis

    Need a concrete example? Learn more about how to conduct a SWOT analysis by examining an in-depth example. See how Wal-Mart measures up in terms of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

    Questions to Ask for a SWOT Analysis

    Can’t get started conducting a SWOT analysis? Need to get a comprehensive picture of the health of your project? Conduct a SWOT analysis as a periodic audit. Use it to fix problems and improve process flow. Learn how the questions you ask in a brainstorming session can help you make an accurate assessment of your project team’s potential strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

    How to Categorize SWOT Data

    Learn how to categorize SWOT data so that you can most effectively analyze your company’s external and internal environment. By categorizing all positive data into strengths or opportunities and negative data into weaknesses or threats, you organize the information for further discussion. Categorize strengths and weaknesses for internal factors only. Categorize opportunities and threats for external factors.

    SWOT Matrix - How Do You Create One?

    Learn how to create a SWOT matrix to analyze your project’s objectives. See how to present these findings in a matrix. Use these components in combination with other strategic management tools.

    Tips on How to Present SWOT Analysis Results

    Think you’re done once you create your SWOT matrix? Get tips on presenting the results of your SWOT analysis including giving a presentation or preparing a detailed report. Find out how to show what factors were considered and how the results can be used to focus on the positive aspects and eliminate or mitigate negative results.

    Planning Your Career with a Personal SWOT Analysis

    Do you need an assessment of your current project management capabilities? Use a SWOT analysis to help you identify your real areas of interest so that you can excel. Use a SWOT grid to help you plan your project management career.

    How SMART and SWOT Goals Can Be Used Effectively

    SWOT Goals Use SWOT analysis outcomes to help team members develop personal goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, reasonable and timely. Learn how to intertwine these techniques so that you describe your strengths with specific information. Find out how to measure and quantify your weaknesses. Require team members to agree on opportunities to pursue. Learn how to define threats and make plans to realistically handle them.

    How to Perform a Supply Chain SWOT Analysis

    Learn how you can improve your supply chain operations by conducting a SWOT analysis. This type of analysis allows you to lower your inventory, total cost of ownership and improve lead times. Use this technique to make the best vendor selections, build strategic partnerships and enable cost savings.

    Got a question or comment about SWOT analysis? We'd love to hear your ideas. Leave a comment on any of the above SWOT analysis articles to begin a discussion.