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SWOT Analysis

Image of the SWOT Analysis that reads Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

The acronym SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. A SWOT Analysis examines a firm’s technical, human, and financial resources and is focused on a specific application, product, or project, an operating division, or the entire company. In software development the overall goal is to create software that is realistic, profitable, and achievable.

Strengths and Weaknesses are internal to the situation/object under analysis. You can change them over time but not without some work. Opportunities and Threats are external to the situation/object under analysis, they are beyond your control. You can use a SWOT Analysis at any time to access a changing environment and respond appropriately. In software development we use it as part of the planning process.

While a SWOT Analysis can be used at any time, during software development it is typically used to examine a proposed software development project. When analyzing the proposed project via SWOT it is best conducted by a group of people with different perspectives and stakes in the project. End-users, management, trainers, software support personnel, software maintenance personnel, software installation personnel, systems and business analysts, software designers and software developers can all potentially contribute valid insights. The SWOT Analysis of the proposed project is examined within the confines of the company’s mission statement and its goals and objectives.

One way to conduct the analysis is to first brainstorm each of the categories. Identify factors in each category without elaboration. A list for each category with bullet points may be the best way to begin. Just capture the factors you believe are relevant in each of the four categories. After brainstorming, meet again to create a final, prioritized version of the SWOT Analysis. List the factors in each category in order from highest to lowest priority, top to bottom.

Continue to the next page to view some questions to get you started.