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SWOT Analysis

SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. A SWOT analysis can be carried out for a specific project, organisation or even a whole sector.

What is this for?

SWOT analysis leads to a richer understanding of what the project or organisation can offer, the key weaknesses that need to be worked upon in order to succeed, and where to bring in external partners for assistance.

Completing a SWOT analysis involves identifying and mapping the internal and external factors that are assisting or hindering you in achieving your goal. The SWOT analysis provides a good framework for reviewing current strategies and directions, or even to test an idea while exploring solutions. It is particularly helpful to do a SWOT Analysis before the start of a project.

Step-by-step guide.

Be prepared: Get your facts and figures in place before you do the analysis.

Be comprehensive: Include all details, from the smallest ones (e.g. for issues at the most micro level like discussions in your team) to large ones (e.g. for new government regulation) that can impact your work.

Be self-critical: SWOT analysis is there to stimulate critical reflection, not just to please yourself and/or others. Be open and don’t get defensive. It is normal to have weaknesses as well as strengths, and to see both threats and opportunities. Sometimes talking about weaknesses or threats can even help you to recognise strengths and opportunities.

Test your analysis with others: Include others or maybe even ask an outsider (like your partner organisation) to do the same exercise and compare their views with your findings. Repeat the analysis: As you go on with your work, new learnings and factors are bound to come up. Re-visit the SWOT Analysis to align your work and its course once every quarter or twice a year.

Use it as a guide: Don’t rely on SWOT too much – it’s a guide that can help scope the way for further development.

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