The acronym SWOT stands for “Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats”. It can be a useful tool to analyze a business process undergoing change. Honest evaluation from all parties is important here. The group undergoing the evaluation must not feel threatened by the analysis. Note that “Opportunities and Threats” are external factors beyond the scope of control of the assessed group.
As with all endeavors in the field of project management, always make sure you have first defined your objectives and expected outcomes of the analysis. This will ensure that proper use is made of the results.
The SWOT evaluation team should be comprised of a cross-section of middle and upper management of the business process owners, as well as those who actually participate in the execution of the business process. The team should be instructed to first identify the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats independently to avoid group bias. Then the group is brought together to compare notes and agree on the final list.
You then make a matrix with S and W as the rows and O and T as the columns. The cells are filled in by the evaluation team as follows:
- SO – How can the groups strengths be leveraged to exploit the potential opportunities?
- ST – How can the group use its strengths to ward off potential threats?
- WO – Can the group use an opportunity to eliminate or mitigate a weakness?
- WT – Can the group restructure itself to avoid a threat?
The answers are analyzed to determine cost of implementing vs. value and from that you can determine which of these the project sponsor wishes to include as part of the business requirements for the project.