SWOT Analysis

This module will support your understanding and use of the SWOT Analysis Tool from the DIY Toolkit. You should look at the SWOT Analysis Template before working through the module. You will find it helpful to have a print out of the SWOT Analysis Template which can be found on page 17 of the DIY Toolkit [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]   with you while you work through this module.

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Understanding your strengths can put you in the right place at the right time

Knowledge of the internal strengths and weaknesses, along with the opportunities and threats – SWOT – facing a business, project or programme can paint a broad picture of its current status. This proactive analysis leads to a richer understanding and avoids relying on habit or instinct, helping leaders and managers to make informed decisions about the actions available to them.

Conducting a SWOT analysis can be useful for lots of contexts, including:

  • problem solving
  • planning
  • competitor evaluation
  • personal-development planning
  • strategic decision making, such as entering a new sector or launching a new product
  • a potential partnership
  • an investment opportunity
  • outsourcing a service, activity or resource
  • staff-development planning
  • developing contingency plans.

This module explains how to use SWOT analysis as a tool. As with many of the DIY tools, it is a subjective activity that would probably be completed quite differently by two people working on the same issue for the same organisation. Asking colleagues and partners to help with a SWOT analysis will always give a richer result than working in isolation.

Learning outcomes

After studying this module, you should be able to:

  • describe what a SWOT analysis is and where you would use it (SAQ 1)
  • explain the terms strength, weakness, opportunity and threat in the context of a SWOT analysis (SAQs 2 and 3)
  • distinguish between the internal and external issues in a project and its environment using a SWOT analysis (SAQ 2)
  • conduct and interpret a simple SWOT analysis (SAQ 3)

1 When to use a SWOT analysis