SWOT analysis for project management is a simple, yet effective process. It allows the project manager to identify areas that needs improvement. By implementing the correct methodologies for the analysis, it is possible to ensure that a project will be completed on time and within budget. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
The use of SWOT analysis lets the project manager to improve the whole project or individual tasks where better efficiency can be gained. It also mitigates risks associated with the tasks and optimizes the whole process. The team members get to do more with less. Because of the nature of the analysis, it is important to conduct the SWOT analysis during the startup phase. It can provide a solid backbone to the project plan.
Conducting the SWOT Analysis
It is important to have a clear objective during SWOT analysis sessions. That way, each stakeholder understands what is expected of him/her. If the analysis is done during the initial startup phase, key members must come together and identify all required tasks and the potential risks to each step of the project. On the other hand, it is also possible to have a SWOT analysis session in the middle of the project. If this is the case, the main focus is usually to reassess the schedule, the budget, or to conduct a cost/benefit analysis of certain processes.
While the purpose of the SWOT analysis may be clear on paper, its actual implementation can vary. In addition, it is common for the discussion among stakeholders to go off-topic during the session itself. For this reason, it is important to create a set of pre-defined questions. This will serve as the guide for the SWOT analysis session. The project manager may also present his initial set of findings for discussion. Any relevant information will give attendees an opportunity to clear things up. The process results to improved productivity.
Common Questions in SWOT Analysis
- Does the organization have all the necessary talent in-house?
- Is the budged sufficient to complete all the tasks involved?
- What are the benefits of completing the project?
- Has the project manager handled similar projects in the past?
- How experienced are the team members?
- Does the organization have the resources to provide contingency funding?
- If the team doesn’t have all the necessary skills, what areas need to be outsourced?
- Is the schedule realistic?
- What are the potential drawbacks of the project?
- Will this project take advantage of competitor weaknesses?
- What are the latest trends in the industry?
- Are there new technologies that the organization should be aware of?
- Can this project help in different areas of the business?
- Are the team members difficult to replace?
- Has the new technology (if it will be applied) been tested?
- Could changing trends affect the project?
- Can the capability be copied by competitors?
The questions outlined above are just some examples you may have to consider. Obviously, projects are a lot more complex. Your actual list will be a lot longer as it digs deeper into the specifics.