A SWOT acronym stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
More commonly used for uncertainty identification in Project Risk Management and Strategic Risk Management, the SWOT analysis considers risk from both the internal and external environment. Users of the SWOT analysis identify and list risks under the SWOT headings.
The respective letters in the acronym stand for the following:
Strengths – Internal factors of a corporation that help to achieve objectives.
Weaknesses – Internal factors that obstruct achieving objectives and can be improved.
Opportunities – Factors that are not currently present in the organisation, but could reflect positively on achieving our objectives.
Threats – Factors that are not currently present in the organisation, but could reflect negatively on achieving our objectives if they occur.
The SWOT analysis follows the same idea as the ‘list making’ brainstorming technique, but it is conducted in a structured manner compared to the randomness of brainstorming. It also forces staff to consider the upside risk of organisational activity, which tends to be a forgotten factor with the negatively focused Brainstorming technique.