Like a lot of Business Analyst tools the SWOT analysis is designed to pull ideas out of the aether and onto paper where they can be studied and thought about. Organising your thoughts or your business analysis this way really helps to see a full picture. You can evaluate what you have going for you alongside the list of things you need to watch out for and this helps to develop a longer term strategy. It’s a really simple process that can be applied to any project, business or even on a personal level.
In a work context it’s a tool to evaluate internally what the project team or business is really good at and to think where areas can be improved. It then looks to the outside world to see where there are opportunities you can benefit from or things that can stop you. From this list you would then build out what any plans to make use of the strengths and opportunities or to look at the steps required to address the weaknesses or threats.
So to use the tool you simply ask myself the following questions:
What are my strengths? what are my weaknesses? externally what opportunities do I have? and what threats exist?
- Strengths might include – because you only have a small team you have the ability to react quickly to change.
- Weakness might include – because you have a small team you cannot take on large projects at the moment
- Opportunities might include – one of your competitors has just stopped trading
- Threats might be – Changes to regulations mean you have to change you working practices
Using the example above you could draw up plans around the types of business you now wish to pitch for and the changes you may have to make to your own internal teams. e.g. you may wish to grow the team, or stay small.
Another example could be using the tool to identify your BA career goals and training needs
- Strengths might include – strong IT knowledge
- Weakness might include – weak business skills
- Opportunities might include – new regulations have been announced that no one has business experience in.
- Threats might be – There is a lot of people chasing the same jobs
From this it might be an idea to study the new regulations and make your an expert in the field? It might be an idea to network with more people in the business?