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SWOT Analysis

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A SWOT Analysis is used in project planning, strategic planning and other processes where agreement is needed about the current situation of a project, team, department or organization. It stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.



To have an opportunity for all to share their ideas about the current team or organization situation, and hold discussions on the outputs toward prioritising areas for short, medium and long term attention.





    Types of participants: Member of the project, department or organization.

    Pre-Work Required: defining what the analysis is about.

    Type of Facilitator-Client Relationship: any. This is such a common tool that a facilitator is not always used.


    Set the Context

    1. A facilitator might say "Today we're going to develop a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) Analysis for the project. A SWOT, after all, is never general, but in relation to a specific market need."

    2. "What are some things from yesterday that we need to remember in working with SWOT analysis?"

    3. Put these up on a flipchart.


    1. Take two sheets of paper. Draw a line down the centre of both of them. Put in Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats at the top of the columns.

    2. State the issue that you are dealing with.

    3. Take a few minutes and brainstorm individually in each of the columns.

    4. When the group is done go around the table and get out items for (Internal) Strengths. Then Weakness. Then (External) Opportunities and Threats. Ask people to add new items rather than repeat the same item.

    5. What are the key Strengths? Weaknesses? Opportunities? Threats?

    6. We want to divide into teams and each team will write sentences describing their key items in sentence form and give illustrations or examples from real life.

    7. When they are finished ask them to read their sentences out to the group.

    8. We are not interested in editing the sentences but more check the content. Are there any suggestions about the content?

    9. Move to the next sentence.


    This method can be adapted for online by using one of the many virtual collaboration boards such as JamBoard, Miro or Mural. If the time together is short, this activity can be done asynchronously before the session, and the time together can be used to discuss in breakouts and plenary.

    View a 30-minute recording of a demonstration of the SWOT facilitated during the IAF Facilitators' Gym in October 2022: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ACyB1P8s0AE&list=PLxbcsN1z1FN6w3E3D5arHEUjbi4UuJEiz&index=8 


    Go to the next exercise.


    Follow-Up Required: Next Steps

    Usual or Expected Outcomes: An agreed on list of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

    Potential pitfalls: Not dealing with the real situation.


    Derived from: unknown

    History of Development: unknown

    Alternative names: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats Analysis

    Comments (4) (5.0 avg / 1 ratings)

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    • I use this online for teams as part of their team evaluation and as the beginning of them identifying key areas for their attention.

      over 2 years ago
    • Find more SWOT analysis examples here. They can be used freely as you want. https://creately.com/blog/examples/swot-analysis-templates-creately/

      over 5 years ago
    • Some things may be both strengths and weaknesses, or threats and opportunities. Allow them to go in both areas, with explanations of why. For example a threat such as "funding cuts from our major funder" may be an opportunity to broaden support from a larger group of funders and get more people involved.

      almost 6 years ago
    • I find it helpful to do the "threats" brainstorm before the "opportunities" brainstorm, to end the exercise thinking about positive directions for the future.

      almost 6 years ago