IAF Methods

Action Planning with SWOT Analysis

by for . Last edit was almost 2 years ago
240 - 960 3 - 10

Bringing together a group to develop a response to a specific situation.

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To have a group devise a considered action plan to respond to a specific situation. This will be achieved by having them:
  • Conduct a thorough analysis of the situation focusing on how the organisation is positioned in terms of its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) with respect to the situation
  • From the SWOT analysis, identify and agree the interests, objectives and approach before identifying actions.
  • List priorities and schedule actions that best meet the interests, objectives and approach.

The process envisages a response that is required to a recent issue or threat facing the group or organisation. It works equally well with any challenge or goal set. The use of SWOT analysis is one of the many methods that could be used to help the group focus on interests and objectives and to help them think more laterally. Any method that achieves the same end may be substituted for use in the analysis step of the process.


You will be able to upload attachments once after you create the method.


  • Pre-drawn large scale SWOT grid wall chart
  • Pre-drawn large scale timeline wall chart with blank columns for generic or calendar timescales
  • Cards or paper sheets for the participants to record items on the SWOT matrix or the timeline
  • Optional laptop
  • Project planning software (e.g. Mindjet Mind Manager and MS Project See Action Plan step below)
  • LCD projector
  • Post-it notes
  • Adhesive tape
  • Pens or markers for participants
  • BluTak or pins for participants to attach notes to wall charts



Setting: A room with large, clear wall space is needed for wall charts, flip charts and the display of laptop images (if being used). Arrange chairs in a semicircle facing the main wall that displays the SWOT and timeline wall charts. No tables between the participant chairs and the wall charts.

Pre-Work Required:

  • Background research into the organisation and the situation to be addressed
  • Briefing of attendees
  • Preparation of wall charts
Facilitator skills: Expert skills recommended; the facilitator will need to ensure the group does not identify actions or solutions too early, before the analysis is complete. Consensus will need to be managed as well as assigning ownership of actions.


See the attached file for the procedures.


Follow up:

  • Formalization of workshop outputs
  • Review and revision of the action plan to add further detail, owners, resources and costs


Source: Steve Rothwell, Elstar Professional Facilitation

IAF Method of the month, September 2007

Comments (2) ( 4.0  avg / 1 ratings)

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  • This could be augmented with a ToP focused conversation on the SWOT analysis before the action brainstorm, and a ToP focused conversation to reflect on the whole process.

    almost 3 years ago
  • Works every time.

    almost 2 years ago